The internet is flooding with the buzz around virtual reality technology and the huge tech giants who are trying to dominate the space. Facebook bought Oculus Rift. Samsung launched Gear VR. Microsoft debuted HoloLens.
But in the midst of all the chatter, I had came across an innovative use of virtual reality that piqued my interest because it was used for purposes beyond gaming culture, beyond better ways to make shooting zombies more realistic.
What was refreshing about this project was that the virtual reality headset was used to help build empathy for a stigmatized group who is hard to understand.
In the Daily Dot article, Selena Larson describes her uneasy but eye-opening experience using the Oculus Rift in a simulation project called “Mindscape”. Viscira designed the simulation for a pharmaceutical company to help their potential clients understand how schizophrenia feels like. And unlike audio tests or videos, the immersive experience produces a deeper and longer impact on the user.
In the simulation, Larson walks into an elevator for a job interview and hears whispers inside her own head and from strangers, telling her “You will fail”. And even though she knew the entire experience was fake, she couldn’t help but feel completely uncomfortable, even after the headset was taken off.
With the recent hype around virtual reality, I look forward to seeing how the technology will be leveraged in industries like healthcare, pharma or research. Beyond gaming and entertainment, industries which most people associate with virtual reality, there are huge opportunities for virtual reality and other emerging technologies be used to solve tough industry challenges, gain deeper insights into people’s behaviors, and help us transform the way we think and live as humans.
antedote is a strategic insights and innovation consultancy based in San Francisco, and we have helped many of the world’s leading brands like Pepsico and Unilever to garner deeper insights about their consumers and identify opportunities to grow their brands.
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