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Walmart will use Oculus Go headsets to train employees in VR

The retailer is betting VR is an effective way to train workers in areas like customer service.

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Walmart will get more than 17,000 Oculus Go headsets for training. 

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Walmart will start using Oculus Go virtual reality headsets to train workers, the company said Thursday in a blog post.

The retailer plans on sending more than 17,000 headsets to its US stores by the end of 2018 to help educate employees in areas like customer service, empathy, new technology and compliance. 

"When you watch a module through the headset, your brain feels like you actually experienced a situation," Andy Trainor, Walmart's senior director of Walmart US Academies, said in the post. 

The Oculus Go headset, which starts at $199, launched in May. Unlike similar, less expensive headsets like the Samsung Gear VR or Google Daydream View, it doesn't require a phone to run. 

Walmart isn't the first to use virtual reality as a training tool. Midwifery students at Australia's University of Newcastle practice delivering babies in VR. Virtual reality also has been used to teach people how to operate machinery, or learn to weld. NASA's been using VR to prepare astronauts for spacewalks since 1992.