According to a recent Stanford University study, when children were asked one week afterward whether their VR experience really happened or was virtual, 50% said, “real.” Gulp. Let that sink in a moment. Then consider the reality of VR as the ultimate teaching tool. When our brain records a virtual experience as an actual remembered event, history makes a gigantic leap from text and black & white images into the realm of our own private memories.
Randall Rudd, founder of Immersion Industries, says, “Whether one believes this statement is irrelevant, because it is true. At Triple-I, we have succeeded in bringing history to life, virtually. Our team members actually have “freshly minted” memories of personal experiences that happened in another place and time. And I’m not even kidding. We are certain that within a short time, perhaps even months — not years, you will also be able to experience the past ‑ to time travel. Granted, it is virtual time travel, but the effect and the memories are real enough.”
Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab has been creating and studying virtual reality, for more than a decade. “One of the things we study is the psychological presence,” said Jeremy Bailenson, the director of the lab. “People are often stunned, it [VR] is really intense for them.”
According to Rudd, “The experience and effects of re-creating history in the virtual world are comparable in intensity to actual “real world” experiences. So much so in fact, we must always remind the viewer that they are safe as they descend into the virtual past. We all have our fascinations with moments in history. It’s human nature to wonder what it must have been like to actually “be there.” What we never expected in this lifetime was the possibility of actually going back and experiencing those moments.” Yet according to Rudd, time travel, albeit virtual, is not only possible, it’s our business.”