How VR Can Affect the Way We Experience Memories

Over the years, virtual reality has rapidly become a go-to technology in the entertainment and gaming industry. However, scientists across the globe have also turned to this innovative technology to explore its potential for education, medicine and more. 

Many studies have delved deep into the many ways in which virtual reality can help create memories, relive them and even retrieve them.

Creating Memories

As technology evolves, the way we capture memories and events has followed suit. In 2015, Insta360 was born with the mission of changing the way we capture and share our memories through 360o video. This technology introduced an accessible way for people to record important events and moments and share them, not through snapshots or clips, but rather through a fully immersive experience.

Now imagine this – going beyond personal moments to capture historical moments and current events through the same 360 o video technology for a more comprehensive and accurate documentation of important events as well as an elevated way for future generations to learn about the past. This new way of capturing events paired with the ability to be transported via immersive VR technology could change the way we view the world and understand the different realities far off communities are facing. By replacing books and outdated footage by a sensory experience that allows you to experience any event as though you were physically there, we tap into the potential virtual reality has to transform the way we learn, empathize and pass on knowledge and information.

Reliving Memories

Humans have been obsessed with recording events since the dawn of time. From hieroglyphs in stone temples to modern-day photo albums, we cannot remember a time when man wasn’t constantly looking to capture memories and events. Today, many are turning to VR to elevate the way in which we can relive these memories and share them with our loved ones. 

In 2018, Facebook announced their new experimental feature: VR memories. This feature consists of taking old Facebook photos posted by users and using computer vision to turn them into a virtual three-dimensional environment in which they could step back into and be transported mind, body and soul. Although experimental and in early developments, the demo sparked conversation around this revolutionary way of reliving memories and remembering the past.

Restoring Memories

Another pivotal exploit of virtual reality technology is its ability to aid people suffering of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease retrieve memories that were believed to be long forgotten. A study conducted by the University of Kent’s School of Engineering and Digital Arts found that virtual reality allowed to stimulate parts of the brain that were otherwise hard to reach due to illness. By experiencing a series of virtual environments, patients were better able to make connections and recall memories triggered by the visuals provided by these virtual environments. Feedback from the participating patients was positive and benefits included a better interaction with caregivers, who now knew more about their patients, as well as a boost in patient morale.

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