I recently discovered Virtual Reality (VR), and besides being fun in its own right, I think it could be an excellent tool for writers, too. Viewers and game systems run the gamut from Google Cardboard, ViewMaster, and similar viewers that work with smart phones, to expensive game systems. I “splurged” and bought a ViewMaster starter pack from Amazon for U.S. $16.99. Then I discovered there are a HUGE number of cheap – and free! – smart phone apps:
So far, I’ve visited the Eiffel Tower, floated down the Danube, explored a “cartoon” castle, hung out with kangaroos in Australia, “walked through” apartments for sale in NY City skyscrapers, and visited Burning Man. And it was fun!
I believe that YouTube also has what it calls “360 Videos” which work with VR viewers, but I’ve not tried those yet.
The GoPro app, for example is awesome; besides immersing you in interesting places (Paris anyone?), it includes VR videos of activities like skiing, scuba diving, and more. USA Today also has launched an app with VR news.
For writers, especially those of us who want to set our stories in places like Paris, or the mountains of Switzerland, or Australia, or want to include scenes of snowboarding or sailing – or scuba diving with sharks! – and can’t, for one reason or another, experience these things first-hand, this is an excellent way to experience these things vicariously. Besides the 360-degree views, most have sound as well – for descriptive passages, the only thing missing is smell.
I recommend sitting on a comfortable swivel chair, to avoid neck and back strain from looking around.
1) Yes, motion sickness is possible, though the danger of that varies from app to app. If you start feeling nauseated, take a break.
2)As with any source you use, please be careful not to violate any applicable copyright and trademark laws.
Try it, you’ll like it!