Tuesday 30 August 2016

Virtual Wonders

On March 27th and 28th this year, young visitors to Petrosains were given the opportunity to experience landmark places, culture and language of Italy, France or Germany without physically leaving Malaysia. How was this possible you might ask? Well, we owe it all to the technology known as Virtual Reality (VR). 

VR replicates a real or imagined environment and lets us experience a different reality from where we physically are. Although it has been around for a while, it’s only in recent years VR is gaining attraction and is tipped to revolutionize the entertainment, education, tourism and many other industries. With VR, one can experience a live streaming concert as if you are there when the reality is you could be at home in your pyjama; medical students can practice surgery without using a cadaver; or one could learn and experience Mars without being in Mars! The possibilities are endless. 

Science centres and tourist attractions could benefit from VR too. Plenty has been said on how VR can truly enhance the museum experience. The Natural History Museum lets visitors experienced a 3D journey to discover and learn on earth’s earliest inhabitants through VR. The British Museum meanwhile allow their visitors to learn more about ancient artefacts on display by using VR to bring them to the places where the objects came from. 

Now imagine if you are a visitor to Petrosains and when you stop at Geotime Diorama, not only could you see replicas of Dinosaurs but you could also experience how these creatures live and learn more by just putting on a headset! Your visit and your educational experience would be truly enhanced. What about letting visitors a glimpse what is like to visit a 452m tower? Although certain parties worry that virtual reality will deter people from visiting the place physically, I beg to differ. 

Take for example travel shows. If we could already see a culture or a place of a country from a TV, why then did international tourist arrivals worldwide increased by 4.4% in 2015 to reach a total of 1,184 million?(World Tourism Organization). I believe nothing can beat the real experience of being at a place. 

Given the success of VR in tourist attractions and the potential for it to further enhance one’s educational experience, I think it is about time we take this technology further and start creating amazing wonders. 

Shared by Jasmine Johan
Guest Blogger

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