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4 Ways Virtual Reality is Changing the Meaning of Accessibility

4 Ways Virtual Reality is Changing the Meaning of Accessibility

Ever since virtual reality headsets started to gain popularity, audiences have had the chance to hop into their favorite games and experience exciting new worlds. While this technology has become a growing trend in video games, I believe people often forget the impact virtual reality can do to our own reality. Slowly but surely, this technology has begun to influence our culture and is changing the way we can participate in different events. I think it’s a matter of time before we start seeing virtual reality make an impact on different aspects of our lives, so here are some major changes it has made so far in the real world.

Art

Artists have always been at the forefront of creative expression. From Van Gogh to Picasso, artists have keenly kept an open mind to trying out innovative techniques that can enhance their creativity and ultimately give their audience something unique. This is why many new artists are looking into using a virtual environment as their new canvas.

Applications like Googles Tilt Brush are doing just that by using your own room as a portrait. This gives artists a large virtual platform to create 3D artwork with a dynamic palette of colors and textures such as snow, fire, and even smoke. The art is also given a new perspective as it can be viewed from many angles, giving people the chance to even walk around inside the artwork to gain a close-up view of the brushstrokes.

However, some artists are using virtual reality devices to go far beyond just making 3D drawings.

Have you ever looked at a piece of artwork that connected with you so much that it made you feel immersed in its world? The artist Android Jones is turning that feeling into a reality by bringing his virtual worlds to life.

Blending his artistic skills with VR, Jones gives people the chance to explore his creative designs and actually interact with its surroundings. Sensors are also used on you to allow Jones to craft your experience with the art, making changing the virtual environment depending on how you are feeling.

This technology is giving art new layers that were never thought possible. I hope artists like Jones continue to explore the different worlds they can create in a virtual world.

Museums

If virtual reality can make big changes in how we experience and create art, museums will likely follow along with the same immersive technology. Museums like the Franklin Institute are jumping in on this trend by using virtual reality as a new medium for exploration. Some of their exhibits now contain immersive films that transform different settings into an educationally immersive virtual reality playground where people can explore deep oceans, go far into outer space or even get a closer look inside the human body.

Establishments such as the British National Gallery and MOCA Los Angeles have also integrated VR as a means of exploring their museums, allowing people from across the globe to enjoy collections of art and history in the comfort of at their own home.

However, these changes are becoming controversial as it is hard to tell right now if this mixed reality is adding or detracting people from the experience. As we progress it is becoming increasingly difficult for museums to find ways to preserve our history and remain relevant to our society, especially for an institution that Is ran mostly by donations due to dwindling ticket sales. Despite the controversy, I think right now Implementing VR can become a profitable tool that can draw the attention of a curious public while still providing new uniquely educational ways to access history and art. 

Events

If you ever experienced the fear of missing out on a big event, then VR is the answer to your problems. Using virtual reality to watch a live event won't ever replace the chance of experiencing it in person, but it will bring you closer to the action whether you live too far away or just too lazy to get yourself out of the house. Events like the Rio Olympics and the Super Bowl have already dabbled in using to VR to give fans the chance to access the game in real time. The same goes for music festivals like Coachella, who in 2016 made its first 360 VR live stream through YouTube.

Social media platforms are also doing their part in allowing users to access events through virtual reality. Snapchat last year gave users the unique chance of attending the Golden Globes through live streams recorded with their Snapchat Spectacles. Very soon people will be able to attend any type of event they wish without having an excuse to miss out on it.

Virtual Showrooms

Virtual reality has the technology to enhance so many aspects of our lives it also has the potential to change the way we shop. Recently many companies have been keeping their eye on VR’s popularity and are looking into different ways they can showcase their products through virtual reality devices.

IKEA, for example, tried to give buyers a glimpse of the future with their Virtual Reality Showroom project they revealed on their Berlin-Lichtenberg store. Customers had the chance to put themselves inside a very detailed 3D room filled with IKEA products that visually went well together. They can also manipulate the items inside by changing their texture, material or color, even giving the option to switch between night and day to see how well their product looks in different light settings.

Besides IKEA, Walmart is also trying to become innovative by investing in VR in hopes of creating an interactive in-store display. In this virtual supermarket, customers will be able to pick and check out various items, which they would then have the option to pick-up at a store or actually have them be delivered to your house.

With how fast things are moving with VR tech, it’s a matter of time before we see bigger companies making the same investment. Soon we will see more of this technology creep into our daily lives because virtual reality is no longer an answer to different ways we can enhance our video game experience, but for ways we can enhance real life.

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