What if you could travel around the world with the click of a button, the only requirement being a headset and internet connection? Virtual reality is already making this possible for those who seek it, and it may become the main way we communicate years from now.
The immediate benefits of VR are already evident for general audiences, even if mainly early adopters have engaged with the medium to date. A commonly hailed use of the medium is as a tool for empathy. One recent example of an empathy-oriented VR project was coordinated by Twine, an online creative community collaboration network.
Creatives from Twine’s community came together to provide Frank Mouqué, a WWII veteran, a trip in virtual reality back to a town he liberated during the war.
Besides instantly traveling somewhere far away, a feat that would be challenging for the 91-year-old, Mouqué also had a custom experience prepared for him. The mayor of the liberated town presented him with an award, among other heartwarming interactions.
Virtual reality already provides a relatively cheap and easy way to travel digitally, especially for people who can’t physically travel. Today, anyone can buy (relatively) affordable models at stores. And more 360/VR creators are joining the game too. Between cheap and widely available 360 cameras and big platforms like Facebook and Youtube offering built-in 360 viewing, it’s incredibly easy for anyone to play. Even a panoramic smartphone image can now auto-convert to 360 on Facebook.
While this fully immersive genre of media is still new, there’s no shortage of creators and businesses building new realities in VR. A startup named Within (formerly VRSE) is leading the charge offering a smartphone app including a wide range of VR experiences. And larger organizations like the United Nations, New York Times and BBC are already producing VR content on almost a daily basis.
This new medium can be for everyone—even those not yet connected to it.
Banner Image Credit: Twine/YouTube