I have been intrigued by the cleverness of virtual reality since the holodeck was introduced on the tv show Star Trek: The Next Generation. The holodeck aboard the Enterprise was imaginary. I knew that, in spite of occasional lapses when the line between fiction and reality blurred for me. However, my imagination caught fire thinking about how amazing it would be to step into an alternate reality and immerse myself in it.
Today, thanks to great-nephews Ethan and Kaleb, I got to experience my first virtual reality excursion. Both boys own VR headsets that work with an iPhone app to create virtual worlds and situations.
My mom was eager to try out a headset as well. I love that she is so adventurous! We watched Kaleb demonstrate the headset as Ethan explained what we needed to do.
Mom was relatively sedate and calm as she rode a virtual roller coaster, which was encouraging to me! The boys switched programs, and dropped her into a scarier world, making me laugh as I watched Mom and Kaleb battle creepy opponents.
And then it was my turn. My first VR experience was clicking along on a roller cosster. How fun! It was very cool to be able to turn my head and see the landscape around me, and to realize my virtual body was upside down as we rolled through 360 degree loops.
It was all imaginary, but my physical body reacted with dizziness at the perception that I was upside down and banking on sharp turns. I loved it!
The zombies were a bit more intense. I only briefly visited that virtual world, just long enough to turn my head and see a zombie lurching toward me. Thanks to Kaleb’s instructions, I was able to dispatch it with a well aimed arrow. Whew!
I appreciate the boys teaching two silver haired ladies how to navigate virtually. I didn’t know, back when Star Trek featured their holodeck as the ultimate fantasy playground, that virtual reality would become reality in my lifetime. It fires my imagination still to think about what is possible in this area, and what fantastic experiences lie ahead.
It is exciting to think I may yet step into a holodeck, where the line between fiction and reality doesn’t just blur, it disappears. As Captain Jean Luc Picard, of the Starship Enterprise, would say, “Make it so!”