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Virtual Reality – A one way ticket?

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Virtual Reality – A one way ticket?

Virtual Reality is considered one of the most exciting technologies

today, constantly evolving and improving. According to Eric Drexler, a

world known pioneer in this field, VR is „A combination of computer and

interface devices (goggles, gloves, etc.) that present a user with the

illusion of being in a three dimensional world of computer generated

objects.“ The term ^virtual reality,^ is not finite in its meaning,

but generally includes desktop VR, immersion VR, where the goggles and

gloves are used, and projection VR.

The virtual reality technology is nnot yet perfect and still too

expensive for the common man. The use of high-end VR is mainly

restricted to larger companies, and to special areas such as medical

surgery and pilot training. Home users are limited to desktop virtual

reality programs, which lets them navigate in three-dimensional worlds,

but seldom gives the feeling of actually being there. The entertainment

industry has yet to embrace the technology in full scale, but in his

book ^Virtual Reality^ Howard Rheingold states ^Used today in

architecture, engineering and design, tomorrow in mmass-market

entertainment, surrogate travel, virtual surgery and cybersex, by the

next century ^VR^ will have transformed our lives.^

Will VR cause people to lose their grip on the real world, or is it

just a continuation of previous developments that took people to

imaginary places?

People sseem to always have escaped to ^imaginary worlds^, to get a way

from the stress of real life and to relax. We have all experienced

Greek theatre, read novels and been to the cinema, and lived ourselves

into fiction stories that we identify with. Our imagination creates a

fiction world, which leads us away from real life for a moment of time.

In our own utopia, we forget contemporary problems of reality.

Even though the virtual reality technology creates a utopia for us to

explore, it is in a lot of ways different from other developments we

know so well today. June Deery, from the Rensselaer Polytechnic

Institute in Troy says ^whereas in fiction we imagine and empathize, in

cyberspace we are supposed to ^actually^ step into the other world.^

This mmeans that the other world is not created in our minds, but is

already there. We have to move in that world and take part in it, not

only with our mind, but by using our senses, such as seeing, hearing

and touching. These are our navigation tools. This world is imaginary

in the way that it is not of something real, but a result of the

programmer of that worlds imagination. It is ^virtual.^

In previous developments, such as theatre, novels and cinema we

passively follow aa linear storyline, with a start and an end. The

author of it predetermines all the happenings in a particular story. We

have no participation in the play, but identify with it and our


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