There were many of us who spent most of our valuable time running around our neighborhoods in pursuit of the tiny cartoon monsters. Pokémon Go was, for most of us, our first brush with augmented reality. It also proved to be quite enjoyable. Games are one of the major sources of income for the AR/VR industry. Then there are areas like education and real estate which use VR and AR experience to show exactly how something would look.
To start with, the people who can actually access these experiences are pretty well-off. What interests me more though is what Virtual reality and other such experiences give to people who are not that well to do. The people who may not be educated or are jobless those who cannot afford VR headsets for themselves. So how do we use this unique technology to help these people?
Virtual Reality has a unique quality an almost hypnotic effect on the user. It can evoke feelings of empathy in a user depending on the experience. There is a VR experience, “Carne y Arena”. This experience helps users understand what migrants go through when they try to enter the US. The experience lets the user feel the actual emotions and the sheer plight that these people go through. It gets people to think. It makes them want to help humanity. It breaks the barriers between people who are “up there” and the ones “down there”.“Becoming Homeless” and “Empathy at Scale” are also other such experiences. Both these VR experiences come from Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab. These experiences give users an idea of what the homeless around us face every day. They give an insight into their lives on the street.
A study shows that a majority of the homeless in the USA own smartphones. So can we provide them with AR applications that help them with some basic services? Or even finding work opportunities around them or shelters. Maybe we can help the PTSD affected around us by building an app to help them navigate the environment.
How can we provide these people an opportunity to tell their own story through AR experience? Such tools are available but not for free. Such tools may give these people find a way to get mental stability.
Tech companies are pouring money into this technology. The only hope is that they also spend in using this technology to help the people. VR/AR experience is powerful and must be used in aiding people in need.
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