The Startup Nation may be adept at developing innovative companies from the ground up, but Israel now appears to be positioning itself as a leader in the virtual reality industry. As the emergence of VR continues to transform industries ranging from healthcare to entertainment, Israel appears to already be making inroads in the rapidly growing market.
Innovation in the VR sector is occurring in Israel on a regular basis today, and the accommodation of the metaverse has only helped to speed up the growth of startups geared towards getting the best out of reality technology.
In February, the Israeli Ministry of Education selected Glimpse Israel as a key partner for its Metaverse Lab Program, which aims to get the best out of VR technology in the field of education by bringing together educators, tech firms, and academic experts to collaborate in discovering how the metaverse could bring engaging educational content to pupils.
“VR provides a level playing field by enabling people, represented as avatars, to connect and discuss emotionally charged topics in a neutral and playful setting, without pre-judgment of physical appearance and stereotypes,” said Dror Goldberg, General Manager of Foretell Reality, a subsidiary of Glimpse Group.
“Our involvement in the Metaverse Lab program marks an exciting step towards harnessing the full potential of VR in education, and most importantly, breaking down barriers between people with diverse backgrounds.”
Israel’s influence in the world of virtual reality extends way beyond education, however, and Dadi Gadot, manager of Meta’s Reality Labs division in Tel Aviv, believes that the nation will play a key role in driving the growth of VR in the future.
“Israel has the three main components required for this sort of companies,” said Gadot, describing Israel’s role in delivering VR solutions for the metaverse. “Content experts that know how to build apps, engineers that can plan chips and sensors and people who can do both. We’re putting a lot of money working with Israeli startups on the Metaverse. We’re priming Israel to play a major Metaverse role right from the get-go, and it’s happening.”
But Israel’s push towards virtual reality innovation is already underway, and we’re already seeing its impact long before the metaverse enters the mainstream.
In healthcare, entertainment, and many more industries, let’s explore the influence of Israeli firms in building VR solutions:
Pioneering Virtual Reality in Healthcare
With as many as 400,000 deaths and $37 billion in financial losses each year in the United States attributed to human error by physicians, surgeons, nurses, and medical residents, it’s clear that the incorporation of VR solutions could not only be cost-effective but life-saving in healthcare.
It’s for this reason that Decide VR has sought to roll out a decision support system using virtual reality.
To utilize Decide VR, healthcare professionals can use any off-the-shelf VR equipment such as headsets from Oculus and deal with realistic simulated scenarios in critical areas of the industry such as the ICU or ER.
These simulations help to train doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff in high-intensity virtual scenarios to help them to make more accurate decisions when it comes to real-world emergencies.
These training scenarios are likely to be extended to other high-risk industries, and VR in manufacturing can help in a similar way by digitally rendering complex machinery to help professionals and apprentices to practice in realistic environments.
As a critical sector, Israel is excelling in the field of healthcare among many other industries at present, and there’s no shortage of VR firms seeking to make waves in improving the quality of care provided to patients.
Another example of this can be found in the Tel Aviv-based VRHealth, which is a mixed reality medical and wellness application used to collect and analyze interactions with virtual objects and environments via AI cloud computing algorithms to deliver intuitive analytics for clinicians.
At present, VRHealth focuses on the monitoring of cognitive, physical, and psychological rehabilitation for patients, and will soon provide the first VR medical platform for healthcare facilities within the European Union.
“I truly believe VR will change healthcare and will be in every hospital and every rehab center in three years,” said Eran Orr, founder and CEO of VRHealth.
Building into Unparalleled Entertainment
Israel is also making waves in utilizing VR to transform the world of entertainment. In Tel Aviv in 2022, we saw the launch of XSPACE, a virtual reality experience where players can undergo their very own space mission throughout many interactive rooms.
Based in the exhibition grounds of the city’s Expo Center, the experience was designed to combine technology, art, and animation in fully immersive virtual environments that didn’t have to require a headset to engage in.
Instead, visitors would receive a smart bracelet, and create a personalized avatar. They would then explore the many VR-friendly rooms around them to take part in many different games and activities, all while their bracelet kept track of their scores and recorded videos of their interactions.
The upcoming arrival of the metaverse promises to spark a boom period in the utility of VR technology, but Israel’s leading virtual reality firms are already producing innovative use cases throughout a range of industries.
As VR continues its emergence into a mainstream technology, we’re likely to see Isreal remain at the forefront of the industry, and continue to adapt the technology to aid the prosperity, productivity, and health of users all around the world.
Dmytro is a CEO of Solvid, a creative content creation agency
based in London. He's also the founder of Pridicto, a web analytics startup. His work has been featured in various publications, including Entrepreneur.com, TechRadar, Hackernoon, TNW, Huff Post, and ReadWrite.