From sport to medicine, from architecture to space science, wherever it is too dangerous, expensive or impractical to undertake an activity in the ‘real world’, virtual reality has become the answer. Whether you’re too scared to go shark diving, or want to explore the inside of an active volcano and come out alive, you can do this all from the safety of your living room. Virtual reality also has invaluable applications in training professionals such as surgeons or pilots; and as the cost of virtual reality decreases virtual reality and its cousin augmented reality could substantively change the way we interface with our digital technologies, continuing the trend of humanising our technology.
Yet, with the humanisation of our technology, comes an increasing detachment from reality. The line between reality and virtual reality can easily blur, resulting in addiction, depression and sickness. Moreover, reality still poses ergonomic issues and developers will need to continue to address issues such as motion sickness. Experimental Psychology applicants and HSPS applicants may like to reflect upon the implications of excessive use of virtual reality. Computer Science applicants may wish to consider how the relationship between virtual reality and the individual user and how this could be improved for the future.