by Lilit Markosian
There can no longer be any doubt that we are living in an age of extreme technological advancement. Whether it be 3D printers, drones, bionic plants or the increasingly capable pocket computers that regulate our daily lives, the list of ingenious modern inventions seems infinite. During the past few years, virtual reality has also proudly claimed its place on this list.
While virtual reality has yet to make its entrance into the consumer market on a large scale, that has not stopped scientists and developers alike from pioneering a myriad of uses for the technology. In fact, virtual reality research has done nothing short of bring to life a million “fantasies” of the past. What once seemed impossible and even the stuff of myth, has been rigorously pursued by VR development teams, and rendered “real”. If you don’t believe us, consider these three examples.
Invisibility ━ Anyone who has read a teen fantasy series, or watched the Lord of the Rings, is familiar with the concept of the invisibility cloak. To be able to disappear from view is a collective fantasy that occurs over and over again in both folklore and pop culture.
Just a few months ago, a group of Swedish scientists brought this fantasy to life via a study which pondered the question, “What is it like to be invisible?” Jumping off from previous experiments featuring phantom limbs, the scientists at Karolinska Institutet were able to trick subjects into thinking that they were invisible by using only VR headsets and brushes. You can read all about it here.
Portals to Other Worlds ━ The second book of Philip Pullman’s series His Dark Materials features a “subtle” knife that can cut through the fabric of one world and reveal parallel universes. While a VR headset is not shaped like the Subtle Knife, it can perform remarkably similar functions, especially if you frequent a place like The Void: a VR amusement venue that enables groups to enter totally immersive experiences and go on adventures.
Places like The Void may be a novelty, but they are also a testament to what is coming in the future. The experience you get at The Void is putting video games and fantasy roleplay to shame, because with VR you can actually enter into imagined worlds and experience them with all of your senses. If that’s not fantasy come true, then what is?
Teleportation ━ Everyone has mused about the possibility of teleporting, or at least considered how convenient it would be; no more being late to work or saving up for that expensive flight to Paris. While VR cannot physically take you to Paris, it can trick your brain into thinking that you’re sitting in a charming cafe by the Eiffel Tower sipping some café au lait. And VR is for more than just experiencing far off places from the comfort of your home.
Now, thanks to program like AvayaLive, you can instantly appear in virtual classrooms or meet up with friends in just a matter of seconds. With virtual reality, we are no longer limited by the physical difficulties of travel. All it takes is a piece of Cardboard and your smartphone, and you can travel the world and back in a matter of minutes.
So there you have it, three examples of fantasies that virtual reality has made quite real. And this is only the beginning. As the VR world continues to develop, who knows what heretofore unimagined realities will grace us in the future.