Virtual reality is already changing the way people game and watch movies. No longer passively sitting, watching the action through the distancing medium of a screen, now gamers and movie watchers are inside the world of the game or the film, able to turn their heads and see details that might be missed on traditional viewing methods. But virtual reality is so much more than an entertainment facility, offering huge benefits in many facets of life.
Travel the World
Travel with virtual reality is cheap, risk free and hugely addictive. Instead of scraping up the money to travel for a few days or a fortnight, to visit one or two places, and suffering from altitude sickness, from extremes of temperature or risking falling ill from drinking dodgy water or being exposed to unfamiliar pathogens and germs, you can explore the whole world from the comfort of your home. Go walking in an ice storm in Antarctica or inspect a grizzly bear’s natural habitat without incurring any injuries or frostbite. Explore Africa, getting up close to the Big Five and more without hurting yourself – or interfering with nature either. What about scaling the Pyramids to the very top without harming the ancient stonework or exploring the underside of the Sphinx to see what is really in there?
Virtual Reality travel doesn’t even have to all be about the dangerous or vulnerable – you can ‘travel’ to your dream destination and enjoy a totally immersive experience all from your favourite armchair. You can even combine your own education with travel experiences – imagine learning Japanese, for example, from an avatar tour guide who can guide you to the best places and teach you how to get around, how to order your favourite foods and simply hold a conversation with you.
While a virtual reality headset might be pricy, it is nowhere near the cost of air flights, hotels, insurance, food and souvenirs. Plus, you can spread your travel over your spare time, so there is no loss of earnings. Another benefit of virtual travel is that you do not need any visas and there is absolutely no risk of you being killed from wandering, all unknowingly, into gang territory. Virtual travel may yet be in its infancy, but it will not be long before it takes off in a big way – so start planning that round the world trip that you knew you would never be able to afford!
Virtual reality is also going to enable a lot of people to go to places that are physically impossible (or very difficult) to reach in real life. Explore the depths of the Mariana’s Trench without dying from the pressure, swim the Barrier Reef as it was in its glory days, visit pre-war cities and even explore the immense depths of space, visiting all the planets in turn.
These are just some of the joys that virtual reality has to offer travel – what else can benefit from virtual reality. See Part Two to see other ways that virtual reality is improving the world.