Long before virtual reality (VR) started to take aim at the consumer market it was applied in the military sector for training. The advantages of using the technology are obvious, creating relatively inexpensive and completely safe simulations for soldiers, pilots and more to experience. However the rise of the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) has led the British Army to use VR for a new purpose; recruitment. Today in London the public can get a taste of what life as a volunteer for the British Army might really be like.
Appearing at London’s Waterloo Station until 19:00 GMT today is a stand showcasing a VR army experience with the Oculus Rift. The public can stop by, put on a HMD and experience a live fire exercise that has been created with the help of VR studio Visualise. Viewers take a seat in a range rover in real life before assuming the role of a crewman in a Challenger 2 tank. From there they will engage with enemies using laser sights as well as communicating with other soldiers in tanks and armoured vehicles accompanying them.
“As virtual reality becomes ever-more mainstream, the applications of it widen,” Visualise managing director Henry Stuart said. “From launching cars for Mercedes by allowing you to sit alongside Lewis Hamilton as he tears around a racetrack, to allowing members of the public to become instant virtual holidaymakers with Thomas Cook, we are seeing brands and organisations the world over sit up and take notice of the possibilities.” This particular use of VR marks the first time the technology has been used for army recruitment.
This is certainly a different kind of marketing experience to what’s previously been seen with the Oculus Rift. In the past brands have used the technology to advertise movies such as Wild and X-Men: Days of Future Past as well as cars and other products. VRFocus will continue to report on any and all applications of the technology.