Over the last few years, there’s been one form of gaming technology which has been slowly but surely gaining traction: Virtual Reality. And while VR headsets haven’t necessarily been an overnight success, it’s an industry which is growing all the time. But is it all about gaming? The answer is no — VR headsets can be used for much more than games. Here are 3 surprising examples.

Training new surgeons

As you might imagine, training to become a surgeon is a long and incredibly complex process. It’s also not something that’s easily practised on those who will eventually benefit from it. For this reason, Virtual Reality technology offers an invaluable opportunity for aspiring surgeons to get up close to virtual versions of patients on the operating table. All a trainee needs is a VR headset and a specialised “virtual” scalpel, or other VR mechanical devices, and they’re able to undertake complicated surgeries totally risk-free.

Manufacturing and computer-aided design

The digital boom has had a huge impact on the way we design our real-world tools and products – but, so far, it’s all been confined to a flat-screen. With Virtual Reality technology, engineers and product designers can create fully interactive 3D models of their creations – then make changes in real time. This type of “hands-on” experience during the creative process is simply unheard of and is leading us to push industrial design in directions we never thought possible.

Exposure therapy for mental health

Anxiety is one of the most prevalent conditions in the world, limiting many people’s lives in untold ways. While there are plenty of existing treatments for anxiety, it can be an elusive condition to treat, with some remedies working for one person but not for another. One of the most common tactics for treating some forms of anxiety is exposure therapy, whereby a practitioner aims to confront the person with their anxiety trigger in a controlled way. VR headsets can be a fantastic tool for this, because they can easily simulate an anxiety-provoking situation without putting the person in any real danger.

The bottom line here is clear: VR is far more than just gaming – it has wide-ranging potential that could transform the way we live.