Nowadays, there are plenty of people who say that technology is evil and is a source of people unhappiness. Although there might be some truth to their words, there are plenty of examples where technology helps people, from simple everyday tasks to accomplishing serious challenges and overcoming life-threatening burdens. A couple of days ago, a VR concierge and experience designer, Joel Lueders shared a story that definitely serves as a reminder that technology can do good.
Virtual reality (or VR) is an interactive experience in virtual reality, where people are placed in various scenarios, often games or virtual environments, with the help of a computer. The VR scene has been rapidly expanding, within the gaming industry, as well as real-life – VR cafes have been popping up across the world.
“I’m a veteran of the Minnesota Army National Guard who has been working in tech as a UX designer making websites more enjoyable. I thought of VR as a fad, then a year ago I tried out an HTC Vive at a design conference. I was blown away. My hands were shaking. In my gut, I felt like I was really there” Joel told Bored Panda about how he started his venture into the world of VR. “Now, I just want as many people as possible to put an HTC Vive Pro (or Oculus Rift) on their heads. Everyone responds positively. In VR people become children again. I’ve become a VR True Believer” he added.
Joel works as a VR concierge for REM5 Virtual Reality Laboratory in St Louis Park, Minnesota. REM5 is a place where people can play, explore, learn and create in VR. The man shared a story of a granddaughter who brought her 93-year-old grandma with macular degeneration to REM5 to experience VR. “The grand daughter and her coworkers came to REM5 for happy hour two days before. When she came back she said, “I’ve been talking nonstop about this ever since and wanted to show my dad, also my grandma was in town, so we brought her along. She’s 93 and doesn’t see anything except in her periphery. Do you think she should try it?” Previously our oldest client was 89 and had loved it. so I said, “let’s find out!” Joel explained.
Joel shared his thoughts on the experience with us, saying that none of them expected it to go that well. “None of us had expected it to restore her vision. It seems a little more obvious now. You have super hd screens an inch from your eyes. Now after all this I’ve […] done some googling and there are a lot of people who’ve been using VR as a way for improving sight” he explained.
Although the woman had visual impairment and had trouble seeing in real life, in VR she could see clearly. “I haven’t seen colors like that in years.” she was reported saying after the experience. “I can’t stress enough how little I did in this story. I basically put a big hat on a lady’s head and clicked a mouse, but the results… Man, the results were exponential. A magical moment she and her family will remember forever. And anyone with access to quality VR equipment can do this.” Lueders concluded with an encouragement for people to try VR themselves.