Living in a Virtual World

As I was reading through Richardson’s article, I kept thinking to myself time and time again- why aren’t Virtual Environments and effective tool for learning the layouts of real environments? It stands to reason that if the real environment is reproduced at a digital level, a test subject should be able to gain a similar amount of knowledge about the environment as a person who walked through said environment in real life.

Therefore, as the authors outlined some of the limitations of a VE, I started to brainstorm how an accurate and effective VE could be constructed and displayed. One of the main issues withe using VE as a learning tool was the alignment effect- user of the VE could become disoriented, especially when rising sets of staircases. One potential solution to this conundrum could be the creation of a sort of “immersive” virtual environment, which visually surrounds the user. This could be achieved on a relatively portable scale through the use of some sort of “full experience” headset, which would make it appear as if the user is immersed in the real environment. Overall, the paper raises very though provoking questions about the limitations of Virtual Environments; especially how they are still not a viable substitute to experiencing said environment in real life.

-Victor Manuel


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