By: Milla Hansen
As technology is advancing, things that seemed to be untouchable are now at our fingertips. Virtual Reality is one of those. Although we have always had a form of “fake world,” such as video games to Club Penguin, VR allows any experience come to your eyes through a pair of goggles. VR is not only used for entertainment, but also medically, educationally, and much more. Dr. Donna Davis, Director of the Strategic Communication Master’s Program at the UO, spoke to our class about virtual reality and all the benefits that come along with it.
Through Dr. Davis’ career, she has focused on online health and disability communities that form within social virtual reality environments. She works with a group of people who have physical disabilities and have watched them live through social virtual reality. The disabilities range from house-bound to room-bound to bed-bound disabilities. The Second Life allows them to live their own life and meet others though virtual reality. She has found that these individuals (and more!) love having the option to escape the real world and enter virtual reality. Dr. Donna Davis also brought up the idea of virtual reality being used for education. Imagine being able to learn about World War I and Rome as if you were there. Now that would be cool!
Virtual Reality advancements are very beneficial in the medical field. As you may have seen in the Samsung “Do What You Can’t Human Nature” campaign (below), VR empowers people to overcome obstacles. There is a woman with a prosthetic leg that is struggling to walk, she then puts on Samsung VR goggles and sees her feet in the sand on the beach and is able to walk. The VR technology empowered her to push through her struggles and did what she thought she couldn’t do.
Another campaign is the TOMS “Virtual Giving Trip” (below). There is video on their website, that is compatible with VR accessories, showing how the shoes you donate are actually benefitting children in Peru. This is a great way to reach the TOMS audience because so many people are skeptical of how their donations are being used.
To say the least, virtual reality is just the tip of the technology iceberg. In the future, reality will be like Black Mirror – memory implants, in-person social ratings, body technology. Do not fear though!
LinkedIn: @Milla Hansen