While many people still see virtual reality as nothing more than a tool for video game immersion, Bitlink founder James Riggall sees the emerging technology as the future of many industries around the world.
The Fulbright Scholar is completing his eight-month appointment at Seattle’s Bellevue College, where he is delving deep into the technology that drives virtual and mixed reality.
Mr Riggall ran his first of 10 courses covering the basics of virtual reality on Wednesday in Seattle, with the stream broadcast 15,000 kilometres away in Tasmania.
The seminars are being shown at Enterprize in Launceston and Hobart, and are aimed at people without any prior knowledge.
The classes will also be streamed to RMIT University from next week.
Mr Riggall believes the technologies are “coming of age at the moment”.
“The power of [virtual reality technology] is really amazing,” he said.
“It gives you the ability to put your eyes and ears in a different space, the ability to manipulate scale, contextualise information in the real world or create 3D scale representations of complex systems.
“Most industries are starting to explore these technologies in research and development at the very least.
“Architecture and engineering are among the industries starting to look at it seriously and use it quite heavily.”
Pundits have also suggested that virtual reality could revolutionise the way companies train, or recruit, their employees.
Mr Riggall said a push by Facebook, Google and Microsoft into the world of virtual reality meant the technology may be adopted in the very near-future en masse.
However, there are still obstacles that must be overcome before virtual reality is used on an everyday basis.
“Microsoft and Google are investing heavily into mixed and virtual reality devices,” Mr Riggall said.
“[Facebook founder] Mark Zuckerburg said recently he wants a billion people using virtual reality by next year.
“That creates a lot of momentum, but the thing that's missing is the applications and content.
“There aren't enough headsets out in the world to create a big enough market for lucrative companies to make applications [using virtual reality], but until applications are made, there won't be a lot of reasons to have headsets in the home.
“The determining factor will be how successful Facebook and Google are in their push for this technology.”
Enterprize will be showing Mr Riggall’s lectures every Wednesday from 10am to midday until March 3.
For more information on the online courses, head to Enterprize’s Facebook page.