Magazine article Geographical

A New Reality

Magazine article Geographical

A New Reality

Article excerpt

I recently made it to the summit of Mount Everest. It took me the best part of half an hour from the base camp and I didn't have to leave the comfort of the RGS-IBG's Lowther Room to get there. It also meant strapping myself into a virtual reality rig courtesy of Icelandic technology firm Solfar Studios and its remarkable Everest VR software. Once the feeling of mild embarrassment of prancing around oblivious to the gaze of onlookers had abated, the feeling of complete immersion into the artificial world was astonishing. Crawling around tents, interacting with fellow climbers, nervously inching along precariously narrow ledges, gingerly peering over rocky outcrops at 8,000m drops, and planting a flag at the summit while witnessing a glorious sunset--all in all, quite the experience (you can read a fuller account of my virtual adventure over on our website).

While undoubtedly designed as an entertainment product, the brain's complete acceptance of the fake reality suggests to me that technology such as this is more than capable of revolutionising how we can approach both scientific research and expedition planning in the future. …

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