We attended the Blockchain Explo in London Olympia last week. Amongst the buzz, the sheer volume of visitors, and the vast amount of demos, there was so much to be positive about and we knew it is a time to be excited about the future of VR and Terra Virtua.
There were one or two experiences though that really made us stop and think. It made us think about how VR can really make a change in peoples’ lives. And how VR for entertainment can broaden horizons for people that possibly couldn’t do these things in the real world.
We met one young man who was in a wheelchair. When he put on his VR headset he was completely blown away not only by the environment of Terra Virtua or the experiences in the demo, but by the potential. He explained how it’s very difficult for him to leave the home and how having access to this type of technology would not just be a source of entertainment but it would be life changing. He could snowboard or ski in this virtual platform. He would have the ability to meet people they couldn’t in the real world. In the social spaces of Terra Virtua people who would speak to him would have normal conversations, not conversations that will frame in the context of his disability.
I met a parent you had a son who was autistic — he was so excited about the possibility of being able to create a virtual environment using our Terra Forma tools so that his son could experience environments before he actually enters the environment in real life. Creating a driving track, or a rollercoaster before taking him to a real theme park.
We discussed with a care home who were explaining how ‘reminiscence therapy’ is being used with dementia sufferers. Recreating great events from the past, like video from a presendential inauguration, or a coronation, which would open some memories or even start a conversation.
We are excited about Terra Virtua for many many reasons but one thing that became so apparent for us is that VR can actually be used as a positive force to level up society. To create a level playing fields, irrespective of physical and mental challenges. And it’s an ironic use of the term too, because we use level up in the context of games. But VR can create a way to level up members of society.
Inevitably, as VR hardware evolves, driven by innovative platforms and software, it becomes more accessible. The hardware will need to accomodate different heights, the games will need to figure out motion more, when you are sitting (see our earlier article). Then, irrespective of someone’s disability, autism or struggles with other aspects of their lives, inside a virtual world those things won’t count — everybody will be the same. It’s a really interesting thought and something that we are really truly excited about.