Virtual Reality is Becoming Actual Reality

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!


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This Article Has 7 Comments
  1. Kenden Blake says:

    Great post! I found the medical field research fascinating! I’ve always heard about VR/AR technologies but mainly from an entertainment perspective. It is really great to hear that people like Dr. Davis are doing work to leverage these technological advances to help people for the better. It was a refreshing and optimistic take on what the future could look like instead of the doom and gloom of representations like Black Mirror.

  2. Alli Utti says:

    Great post Milla!! It’s crazy to see how company’s are using Virtual Reality and all the good that can come from VR. I’m interested to see how this technology will change our education system and the way we learn. There’s so many different facets to VR that I was totally unaware of before Dr. Davis’ presentation this week.

  3. Emily Soury says:

    This is great- I have always found VR to be so interesting because of the sense of “escape” it offers from the “real” world. It’s awesome to see these VR/AR technologies continuing to advance, both in its social and business-related aspects. The commercials you have linked show how beneficial VR technologies can be for companies and because of these inspiring videos, I have regained hope for a more positive future in regard to the evolution of VR/AR technologies.

  4. Mollie Markey says:

    Hi Mila! I think VR is a great tool and will only keep expanding as the years go on. I have seen this commercial of the woman with the prosthetic leg who copes with her struggles through VR on the television many times. I think this is a great example of how technology can empower and assist people through their struggles. However, I am hoping that future technology does not resemble the Black Mirror episodes you mentioned too much!

  5. Jordyn Volk says:

    Your photo automatically pulled me into this post, so great choice there. VR is something that both excites and scares me. I love the possibilities it holds from a brand perspective because you can all of a sudden allow people from any corner of the globe to engage with you in a way even social media can’t provide. But I wonder if this truly is the future or something that will become unpopular with people the more it is used. It is so hard to predict the future when it comes to technology, so only time will tell us where VR will take us.

  6. Lola Butcher says:

    Awesome post Milla! The picture you included really grabbed my attention first of all, second of all I really liked the points you highlighted in regards to how companies are taking advantage of this new technology and using it to their benefit. The possibilities become endless when comparing VR to social media. It opens a brand new world to so many people.

  7. Kurtis Cooper says:

    Great video examples Milla! I think that this new age of VR gives a very interesting new perspective to us all. It allows us to see and experience things like we have never before from the comfort of our own home. And like you mentioned brands are definitely smart to explore this outlet like social media with its consumers to enjoy.

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