Glossary Definition: Virtual Reality (VR)

What is virtual reality?

Virtual reality (VR) is a full immersion into a simulated 3D environment. In this setting, users can interact with a completely virtual world through headsets, glasses, or other devices. 

Although many people associate virtual reality with gaming, this cutting-edge technology carries a purpose far beyond entertainment alone. A variety of industries including pharma, defense, and healthcare leverage VR as a tool for training, research, education, and manufacturing.

For example, in the healthcare industry, doctors can use VR tech to practice virtual surgeries, prior to conducting an operation in real life. This technology helps them sharpen their skills and anticipate potential challenges, so they’re more equipped to successfully perform a surgery. 

What are other names for virtual reality?

If you’re wondering about other names for virtual reality, you aren’t alone. VR is often associated with augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). Some people may even use these terms interchangeably, but they all carry different meanings.

As opposed to being a fully virtual reality, AR connects the physical world to the digital world. Through devices such as tablets, smartphones, and headsets, AR layers virtual elements into physical settings. These elements may include text, videos, photos, and holograms. AR technology also aids in virtual video conference collaboration — allowing people to connect and collaborate from anywhere in the world.

Whereas, MR is essentially the best of both worlds because it blends together elements of AR and VR, allowing users to interact with their physical environment while also immersing themselves in a digital environment. That said, there are other terms to describe virtual reality. 

Synonyms for virtual reality include: 

  • Artificial environment
  • Computerized simulation
  • Virtual environment
  • 3D simulation

How can virtual reality be used in pharma?

Pharma companies leverage virtual reality to monitor worker activity, streamline workflows, and optimize manufacturing

Some popular uses of VR in pharma include: 

  • Drug discovery
  • Drug manufacturing
  • Worker training
  • Worker remote assistance
  • Worker guided execution

VR tech is especially popular in drug manufacturing because the pharma industry faces such steep regulatory burdens. As such, precision is key to production.

VR tech enables workers to train and work on equipment virtually, without risk of error or costly mistakes. This way, workers can fine-tune their technique in low-stakes scenarios, improving speed and confidence while minimizing potential deviations.

Why is virtual reality important in pharma?

Virtual reality in pharma is important because it helps companies address industry-wide challenges including steep costs, regulatory burdens, and manufacturing delays. 

Equipped with VR tech, professionals can train in simulated environments, make mistakes, and master equipment handling and process workflows without the risks associated with learning in real life (such as breaking or mishandling an expensive or infrequently used piece of equipment). 

Plus, researchers and scientists can see how therapies work on a molecular level, thereby allowing them to conduct R&D virtually, prior to experimentation in real life. This accelerates every stage of drug development while saving time and money.

Virtual reality is revolutionizing various industries, including pharma. Drug development is typically a long, arduous process, but VR is making it easier for organizations to bring therapies to market sooner.

From error reduction to improved workflows and better training programs, VR technology is changing the game for drug manufacturers and streamlining production from preclinical research to clinical development and commercial release.