Virtual Reality technology has evolved dramatically in the past few years and is set to hit mainstream markets in 2016. While gaming applications attract most of the attention, there are many other use cases that could have a much larger impact on our lives.

VentureRadar tracks 100s of emerging innovators in virtual reality so we decided to pick out 25 leading examples that highlight the wide range of use cases that exist. If predictions are true, we might be spending the majority of our waking time in virtual reality by 2020, so the use cases below could become very familiar to you in the near future.

“Virtual reality is the last medium… …you’re essentially hacking the visual-audio system of your brain and feeding it a set of stimuli that’s close enough to the stimuli it expects that it sees it as truth” – Chris Milk, CEO, Vrse

The 25 use cases and innovators we’ve selected are:

Sports Spectating: Livelike / @LiveLikeVR
Architecture: IrisVR / @vrviz
Journalism : Emblematicgroup @EmblematicGroup
Industrial Training : EON Reality /@EONRealityInc
Mental Health : CleVR / @CleVRBV
Workspaces : Mure VR /@vrBreakroom
Social Networking : AltspaceVR  / @AltspaceVR
Shopping : Trillenium  / @Trillenium3D
Gaming: Cyberith /@Cyberith
Cinema: Jaunt @jauntvr
Pain Relief : DeepStream VR /@deepstreamvr
Meditation: Guided Meditation VR (by Cubicle Ninjas) / @CubicleNinjas
Travel: Marriott Hotels (working with Relevent and Framestore)
Surgery Training : Conquer Mobile / @conquermobile
Cognitive Training: Cerevrum / @CEREVRUMGAME
Recruitment: Wade & Wendy @wadeandwendy
Religious Pilgrimage : Mecca 3D / @mecca3d_net
Education : Unimersiv / @Unimersiv
Courtroom: Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Zurich
Manufacturing: Virtalis @Virtalis
Big Data Visualisation: Masters of Pie with Lumacode (@mastersofpie and @lumacode)
Marketing: 10x Army @10xArmy
Flying: FLYBi / @FlybiDrone
Sports Training : STRIVR Labs / @STRIVRlabs
Automotive Design: WorldViz / @WorldViz