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Virtual reality1

Today Virtual reality allows people to study artificial worlds through simulation and computer graphics. Computers have changed the way we perform flight training, scientific research and conduct business. Flight simulators have drastically reduced the time and money required to learn to fly large jets. One of the most interesting capabilities of virtual reality is the ability to practice certain medical practices. Computers are helping many doctors perform complicated operations very simply. Computers have changed the way we look at health problems. They have made incurable health problems very easy to solve in today's society.

We have only begun to realize the extreme wastefulness of burning expensive fuel in aircraft in order to learn something in an hour that could be taught in ten minutes in a simulator. Simulators have come a long way since 1929, when Ed Link first built what was soon to be known as the pilot maker, or more affectionately, the blue box. Students often find themselves sitting at the end of a runway waiting for takeoff clearance on a busy day, with the engine turning and burning expensive gas. This is not a very effective way for students to spend money. Most students do not have access to expensive flight simulators. Most have to travel hundreds of miles to take advantage of these amazing simulators. Flight simulators are much better than an airplane for the simple reason that in a simulator the learning environment is much safer. Students are able to avoid the overriding need to keep the airplane flying and out of harm's way. In a simulator a student is constantly busy, practicing what he is supposed to be learning, and once he's flown a given maneuver, he is able to go back and do it over again, without wasting time or fuel.

Years ago doctors used X-rays to see the insides of humans. X-ray's were most helpful in finding broken bones. These machines were an incredible break through years ago. Today X-ray machines are hardly ever used. Today we use computer-aided volumetric images of internal organs, often referred to as cross-sectional images of the body's interior.

In the past scars were often left behind after major surgeries. We have avoided leaving these nasty scars through fiber optics. If a patient needs surgery on an injured nee, the doctor would cut two small holes in the side of the patient's knee and glide the tiny light, camera, and operating tools inside. The doctor would be able to monitor what he was doing from a colored monitor screen.

Virtual reality also allows leeway for doctor's mistakes. With virtual reality a student is able to try several different operations more than once. If the attempts are failures the patient will not be injured. Before virtual reality, students were often required to operate on animals. Because of virtual reality we are able to save money along with animals' lives.

We have come a long way in virtual reality since World War II. We have been able to save time, money and many lives, in both medical and flight training. The human race has many new and exciting advancements coming because of virtual reality. I hope that one day this new advancement will not be used in war tactics, rather only be useful for practical purposes.

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