Virtual Vertigo

I’ve learned that chatting with my daughters’ friends is a great way to glean insights into what people think about virtual reality. Because they actually do think about virtual reality.

Screenshot of my daughters and I standing atop a waterfall, in our bathing suits, in Minecraft.
My daughters made their own “swimsuit” skins for a pool party in Minecraft. So I made one with a sunburn.

One of my daughter’s friends, who is in grade 6, introduced himself to me yesterday. He was a very polite, well-spoken young man. We got to talking about Minecraft. Pocket edition, Realms, Minecraft summer camps, and I turned the conversation over to virtual reality.

“Did you know that they’re going to release a version of Minecraft that will work with VR goggles? So you’ll be able to see the Minecraft world all around you, and things will actually look 3-dimensional?”

“Yeah, I heard about that.”

“Have you ever tried VR goggles?” I asked him.

“No. But I’ve heard about them. I hear they use them to treat people with a fear of heights.”

Blink. Blink.

“Really? You’ve heard about that?” I asked incredulously. This is exactly the kind of stuff I’m writing about in this blog – this is exactly the kind of stuff I try conversing with my grown-up associates about. This is the kind of stuff that only a handful of people on Twitter are talking about.

“Yeah, they make people use the goggles every day for a week, and then they take them to a real place that’s high, and I guess it scares them a whole lot less if they’ve been practicing with the virtual reality goggles.”

I’ve read about that. I was hot on the Twitter last week. The Virtual Vertigo. Then he went on to tell me more about the therapeutic uses of virtual reality:

“They also use it to help people with a fear of talking to lots of people”, my daughter’s friend continued.

“Do they? What do they do there?” Like the vertigo therapy, I’d heard about this too. Either this kid reads the same tech/news sources I do, or that’s just what kids are talking about these days.

“Well, you practice talking in an empty room, like your house, but you have a big crowd of people in the goggles. And you practice on them. And then when you try in front of real people, you’re less nervous.”

Amazing. This is a 12-year-old kid, and he makes playground talk of stuff that, in my world, is so cutting-edge it’s downright obscure.

Kids. They will be the users of tomorrow. I’m going to pay more attention to what they’re saying.

Lately I get the impression that adults are only interested in talking about the goggles. It’s the kids who are more inclined to think about what to do with them.




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Author: Pete

Editor-in-Chief, Lead Software Developer and Artistic Director @