With Oculus Rift and other VR headsets expected to hit the market soon, virtual reality is coming soon to a living room near you.
Virtual reality has progressed in fits and starts for years—remember Second Life?—but now the technology seems poised to cross into the mainstream. Companies have refined many of the medium’s visual and audio effects and working on its tendency to create motion-sickness. That means immersive experiences that are far closer to what we see in the real world—and increased potential to use the technology in industries ranging from business to medicine to education. Already, companies are using VR for everything from designing cars to helping people recover from trauma.
As with many segments of the tech industry, the field of virtual reality remains dominated by men. But that’s beginning to change. Women In Virtual Reality, a networking group founded by Maria Korolov, the editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business, an online publication covering enterprise uses of virtual reality, now has about 130 members and is developing an experts network and a slate of events. Plus, women in the field say that because virtual reality is such a fledgling industry, there’s no established glass ceiling or old boys network to contend with. As the technology grows, they say they expect the VR opportunities to blossom—for all genders.
Here’s a look at three women who have already made their mark on the virtual world: