Monday, March 17, 2014

Virtual reality mountain climbing?

NPR recently did a story on the "Oculus Rift," a set of virtual reality goggles that allow you to experience what may otherwise be outside of your day to day reality. Creators of the goggles explain, "people want to experience things that they can't experience in their real lives" and hope that the goggles "will allow people to climb mountains, go to outer space, explore caves, and have experience that we couldn't have in real life".

When I listened to this story, I was very interested in their use of real life. Where do we get that operative notion from. Should we put climbing mountains in the same other-worldly-ness as going to outer space? But more importantly, I can't help but think that allowing people to access these out-of-real-life experiences without actually stepping outside of their real life will inherently take away from the significance of these experiences. Is part of the allure of these other-worldly experiences the act of stepping outside of the real life? If it is, than these goggles can only do so much, but will never be able to capture that aspect of adventure.

Here's a link to the article:

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