Virtual Reality is not a Gimmick
I do hear from time to time that Virtual Reality is a Gimmick, and I guess sometimes it is a fair assumption after some of the experiences that people get to use for their first time in VR.
There are some very Vanilla experiences that look cool and make people wonder at the tech but they do not leave a lasting impression or the burning desire to get back into a Virtual Reality Headset.
Last night I was watching dozens of people use VR, some for the first time and some that have experienced things like Beat Saber and the Spacewalk via BBC. This was different, they were experiencing Ritchies Plank Experience.
This experience has you travel up an elevator to the top a highrise building, the doors open and there is a plank leading out into the air!!!
Have a look at this video for a better idea.
So, on first impressions, you may be thinking to yourself that this is a little Gimmicky! Actually, it is anything but.
Most people start off ok, until the elevator opens and they have to take that first step! All of a sudden you have people freezing up mid plank, not being able to walk to the end of the plank or jumping off it when you reach the end.
Those that can get to the end and also jump off are affected by the experience, simply put they are scared.
This is where the magic is with Virtual Reality! If you just let people walk off without explaining what just happened the power of the experience is lost.
How can people be afraid when they actually know that they are on solid ground and safe?
Simply put the way our brains work allow Virtual Reality to the ultimate behavior-changing technology.
The primitive Brain is responsible for our flight and fight responses, reflex actions etc. This is actually over-riding our thinking brain, or more accurately our mind is getting mixed messages.
At the end of the experience, people cannot believe how they felt, when you explain why this has happened then they can start to see the value in Virtual Reality.
It gets better, after doing this your brain actually processes the experience as if it were real thus giving you real-world training in Virtual Reality on walking a plank at heights.
It is not a giant leap to start thinking after experiencing Ritchies Plank Experience that you could use similar methods to train people in safety and Working at Heights!
You could show them what happens when you fall, you could even take it to the next level and show them how their family reacts. This will change behavior and have people being safer and engaging more whilst training for this environment.
We have the amazing opportunity to make people better, work better and think more via the Magic of Virtual Reality.
So, with that in mind, I can say that Virtual Reality is certainly not a Gimmick.