Personal Essay

Virtual reality is something that has intrigued me for as long as I can remember. The idea of being able to enter another world and be able to do things there like it were our world has always been so fascinating to me. If I remember correctly, my first experience with virtual reality was when I was ten. I went to Disney World with my family. When we were there we ended up going to Disney Quest. For those who do not know, Disney Quest was basically Disney World’s version of a giant arcade. They had everything from super classic arcade cabinets to the things you see in arcades now a days. One game that had a really long line was an Aladdin game. This game look really interesting so I convinced my parents to wait in the line with me. When I got up to the front they put me on a magic carpet, as well as three other people around me. I took hold of the controller and then a really bulky mask was put over my face. Once it was on I looked around and got a three sixty view of the area around me in the game. It felt so cool to be completely immersed. Then the carpets in the game took off as we started our flight. I only had limited control, but the novelty of the virtual reality was cool enough as it was. It was really cool and opened up my eyes to what VR felt like. Another reason I have always been into the idea of virtual reality is that I am a strong supporter of escapism. I frequently slip into day dreams to take a break from this world, and with virtual reality, I could actually slip into a different world.

As of recent, virtual reality has been used for more than just video games. For example, KFC has a program that allows their workers to train in the virtual world. The thing I really like about this is that this makes the consequences for messing up a lot less in magnitude. Before, if they were trained on site, they would have the possibility of messing up someone’s order or getting in the way of their co-workers. If they had to train when not working, it would be unnecessarily time consuming. This way they can train in a controlled environment with very little repercussions. Another way that this training is used that I know about is in the medical field. Recently surgeon training has taken place in a virtual space. I feel like this is an amazing option for people in med school. They can get practice without having to worry about killing someone. Currently I do not know too much about this program, but I plan on interviewing someone who can fill me in a lot better.

My biggest question going into this project is what level of immersion is possible with virtual reality, and what research is being done it increase that immersion. For example, is there anyway that virtual reality could become more like a dream? Is it possible to emulate the real world, where once moves using their body instead of a controller and has access to all 5 senses in the world? I am pretty sure as of right now, that is very far away in the future, but I would like to know if research is being done on it. The desire to know this connects back to my fondness of escapism. The more like a separate world that virtual reality could be, the more of an escape it could be. That prospect excites me.