Jack Nicas and Deepa Seetharaman recently wrote a great article for the Wall Street Journal about the effects of Virtual Reality on the human body and mind.
Because it is so realistic, Virtual Reality can change how a user thinks and behaves. An incredible experience from Stanford showed that someone inched across a wooden plank suspended over a deep in VR wouldn’t step off if asked to even if the person is walking on a carpet in “real life”. Ms Bell, who lived this experience said later: “I knew I was in a virtual environment, but I was still afraid.”.
While VR is having its commercial moment, it’s grappling with questions about how it affects a user’s body and mind. We know that some virtual reality experiments can cause nausea, eyestrain or even headaches. Developers and VR headsets makers are actively working on this problem by creating more comfortable VR experiences and by improving motion tracking and showing more frames per seconds.
We see developers trying to “teleport” users to different places in virtual worlds, rather than run or fly there. But some experiences may never be comfortable.
“There’s going to be a lot of content that you’re only going to want to watch on a [two-dimensional] screen,” says Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe. “You’re not going to want to be necessarily in a car chase in VR. That’s going to be too much motion.”
Virtual Reality can also have a great impact on our mind. We see companies like Fearless trying to cure fears in VR by harnessing the power of Virtual Reality to create a virtual therapy that would help users to overcome their phobias.
While the effects of Virtual Reality on our body and mind is partly unknown, we are convinced that if used correctly, virtual reality as a new medium could push the human race forward.
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We write about the use of Virtual Reality for non-gaming applications.