You might have read our past posts on Virtual Reality (here and here). But this article gives hope that VR may yet be a true saviour for what seemed likely to be lost heritage and treasures of human civilization.
Recently, we read an article on NatGeo featuring how many UNESCO heritage sites are at risk – from a variety of factors. And while we agree that the overburden on the sites from too high a volume of visitor traffic is one factor, what is also not frequently discussed is how some of these sites are in danger of totally disappearing.
Take Syria for example in the article link we cited.
As recent as earlier this year the conflict waged around the city of Palmrya brought not only suffering to people living around the city, but also upon the city itself. Much of the ancient city ruins (yep they already were) were further damaged, intentionally it seems reducing quite some of it literally into rubble. As if being ruins were not bad enough… And then there are sites where there had been so much stress from having too many visitors that damage is all but apparent. Rialto bridge….for example.
So here’s the thought.
Would it be better for the heritage sites to be preserved barred from human visitorship? And that the sites would be documented in such a way that one can purchase a virtual tour of the site, even remotely in the comfort of your own living room. That way, the site continues to receive funding from virtual visitors to maintain the site. Folks too may experience the joys of “being at” the sites without the travails of air travel (read here).
Would you become a virtual tourist? Do you think Virtual reality travel will be the savior when it comes to preserving memories of human civilization and heritage?
There are luxury travel companies offering packages that takes drone videography of your journey (read here) in the name of seeing where they’ve travelled from a different perspective. And back on the ground, there would be professional shooters photographers to assist in taking selfies of you (and your partner), without the hassle of you doing it yourself. Yep, no more selfie stick or stretching your hands out…
You see, this touches so many topics. We’ll just comment on three.
For one, it seems not only wedding couples are getting feted for such treatment these days. Though yes you do pay for them. No need for selfies? Heheh, normally Mel & Suan asks someone’s help to take a photo when possible. It’s free by the way. You just need to return the favour if requested. Nope it may not end up with a professional looking photo, but do you really want a photographer following you all over? Ok, ok some do relish the attention…
And those drone photos and videos. How would you know if those were really your journey(s)? Could had been edited seamlessly and easily these days…LOL. Hey, if Mel can cook edit, so can you! Seriously we don’t think anyone remembers Martin Yan, hence you are not likely to find that funny…but we digress. You might have read about our post on drone photography here, guess it will be a little challenging to get that kind of photos with a drone. Perhaps one day there can be an under-water drone that helps divers take photos like the one taken for us (by a diver) in Okinawa of a whale shark.
Finally, the ones who call themselves “travellers” are going to see red on this one. Camera (phone) toting tourists jamming up the streets, not appreciating local culture and norms already creep these folks out. Now, you have an entourage? OMG. Someone’s gonna have a heart attack! LOL.
Would you fork out the $$$ and sign onto these tour packages?
New entertainment systems keep popping up (read here) for passengers. Away with the cumbersome wired earphones and the LCD screen on the back of another seat. Most important, you do not have to adjust the position of your LCD screen because the blok in front of you just decided to push his seat all the way back. Nice!
However, this sets us thinking.
What good will all this be on the eyes if the small screen is just a few inches away? Will it affect our vision? In our pursuit of the sexy and new, are we unwittingly developing another gnawing problem that will plague us in the future?
Research and publications on the impact of viewing devices on eye vision are varied and offer no real answers. It probably confuses you more with all the contradicting views that you will find on the web. The fact is that there are no real standards set by any formal body as you come to expect from say – for example web address protocols or Pharmaceuticals.
Mel has myopia and wears glasses. One of things he does is to focus on far away objects at the end of a long workday looking at computer screens. It is said to help relax the eyes and hopefully prevent further deterioration of Myopia as age settles in.
So accountability remains in your own hands. Can’t always blame others, though you can try.
We think your eyes are the most important sensory organs that you cannot afford to impair or lose. Take care of them.
While this article focused more on the comforts of flying, I took note more about the VR sets used on flights as part of the in-flight entertainment system. Imagine already being at the destination before you even get there!
And seats that emit lemon or coffee smells? I told you this is coming along. Someday, this will be combined with the VR elements of sight and sound.
Together with smell and the already existing sense of touch (read here), it will be no wonder that you feel the experience so real as to clock that as part of the memories of your ‘journey’.
Just a few years back, it would have seemed incredible. But we are at the edge where reality and virtual begins to blur. Crossing the Rubicon means that you can never tell real experience from virtual ones. Ponder about that.