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the opportunity to explore and learn in ways that they may otherwise normally find dif-
ficult or impossible.
VR can reduce the cost of delivering training by decreasing learning time for trainees
and instructors, and travel costs may be reduced if the virtual worlds and environments
are made available across the World Wide Web. As a training aid or mechanism,VR has
potential in a broad variety of sectors.Training in a virtual environment reduces the risks
of real-life training which may be potentially dangerous or unmanageably expensive
otherwise.
Risks and limitations
VR worlds that attempt to meet all of Sanders' conditions (see above) will be compli-
cated, costly, and have large file sizes. In terms of learning, quality hardware and software
may be outwith the budgets of educational authorities or institutions. Developers not
only have to nurture an extensive technical knowledge, they also need to appreciate how
human perception works if their models are to be effective.
Another problem is that it will be complicated and demanding to create a virtual
world in which participants can interact fully with each other. Cost is not always a fun-
damental problem, but simulating some effects that are familiar to the human body will
plague VR applications for sometime to come.
Immersive VR systems can impact on health. So, just as VDU users are advised to take
screen breaks,VR developers, testers and users should take frequent rests in order to min-
imise the occurrences of commonly reported symptoms, headaches and nausea.
Tabular overview
Virtual Reality and
Display Technologies
114
Benefits
Risks
Educational. VR provides an excellent
pedagogical tool that students respond to
with genuine enthusiasm.
Potentially diffi cult to do. Question of
whether to train staff or use external
people.
Design. Funds can be saved by
constructing VR models rather than
genuine prototypes.
Can be costly. Research will need to be
done to determine the most cost-effective
VR solution.
Improved `access' to distant and/or
historical sites.
Outsourced VR models may not be
adaptable by in-house staff.
Performance. VRML in conjunction with
cyberspace offers a new approach to the
performing arts.
Web-delivered VR is not yet at an optimal
level.
Avatars and user-profi ling encourage
interaction among geographically and
culturally distant users.
QTVR is easy to use and provides
immediate and realistic context of a scene.