Yesterday I saw another future. It was akin to hearing my first radio, seeing Armstrong step onto the moon, picking up a portapak and shooting video, and that extrodinary moment we knew we could code hyperlinks onto a web page. However this was virtually real, immersive, uncomfortably intrusive and yet emphatic.
Grant McHerron: How did your inner ear cope? No nausea due to lack of actual movement despite sight & sound saying you were?
It took me 20 mins to feel normal-ish again. I was ill from motion sickness, particularly when looking down onto the Icelandic plains and seeing nothing beneath me. Looking up there’s the undercarriage of a helicopter that the camera mount was suspended from, as was I, or so it felt. That sunk my guts!
Overall, it was a staggering experience in spite of vast reservoirs of sceptisism on my part. I’m no happy chappy interactive media advocate either, however when empathy is some how possible through either means the possibilities are truly mind blowing… and I say this maintaining a level of sceptisism knowing some will no-doubt stretch the tech into morally repugnant areas. That said, I’m riffing on the benefits… imaginging what it would be like to immerse the elderly and / or infirm into journey worlds they would no longer have the capacity to physically reach… that my mother could visit a Mongolian yurt, as I did within a VR demo, is as tantilizing as it is hopeful that we may continue to lead enriching lives well beyond one’s unexpected, anticipated or socially dictated use by date.