Virtual and Augmented Reality

Today, the borders between real and virtual worlds are becoming increasingly blurred. This is due to new technologies such as VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality). Interest in these technologies is high and the number of applications is increasing daily. But are these technologies really so groundbreaking? And what potential do they have for the future?

Are you planning a 45-minute workshop on the subject “Virtual and augmented reality”? Scroll down to find helpful ideas.

You will find specific ideas and example excercises for your workshop participants.

Please find the facilitator‘s guide for this 45-min workshop here.

Other versions of the workshop are 90 min and 25 min in length.

Virtual Reality (VR)

Slip through the city on a giant slide? Anything is possible in virtual worlds. In this video, get an impression of what virtual reality is.

Augmented Reality

Press “Start before/after view” and drag the slider to the left.

Think about it before you continue scrolling: what are the advantages of such an application?

A Second life

Many people are afraid they might get lost in virtual and augmented worlds and not find their way back to reality. However, the technologies can have many advantages for everyday life.

On the following pages, you will accompany four people in their daily lives and learn how augmented and virtual reality enrich their lives.

Example 1

In the hospital, Doctor Carla has to do many different things at once. Some patients want to know whether their treatment is progressing or have questions about upcoming operations. At the same time, however, Carla must also make arrangements with colleagues to ensure the best possible treatment for her patients.

Think about it before you continue scrolling: How could the technologies change the doctor’s daily routine? What advantages would you have as a patient?

Example 1

Augmented and virtual reality support doctors in planning their work. The technologies help patients to better understand therapies and operations, for example. They also enable operations to be planned precisely and various methods to be tested safely.

The video will provide insight into virtual operation planning.

Example 2

“Art does not reproduce what we see. It makes us see.” – Paul Klee

As an artist, Frida is always on the lookout for new inspirations – no matter whether she is painting or drawing. On the Internet, she visits virtual worlds. She cannot stop thinking about the possibilities virtual reality could have for her art.

Think about it before you continue scrolling: Can art enter virtual worlds? What could this kind of art look like?

Example 2

Art has always aspired to transport us to foreign worlds. Huge panorama paintings such as the “Panorama of the Battle of Racławice”, from the Polish city of Wroclaw, are supposed to integrate the viewer directly into the action. Virtual worlds can also achieve this.

The American artist Chris Milk sees VR as “the last medium for storytelling”. As an art form, no other medium has the ability to close the gap between the viewer and the artist like virtual reality.

Example 3

Helping people has always been Theresa’s goal. As a psychotherapist, she is sensitive to the fears, worries, and problems of her patients. Fears and phobias in particular can be treated effectively if the patients are open to therapy. However, it is often difficult to create the right conditions for this.

Think about it before you continue scrolling: What possibilities do augmented and virtual reality offer in psychotherapy?

Example 3

There are many reasons why people develop fears and phobias. However, therapy is often very time-consuming and expensive. This is where virtual worlds can help. Patients do not have to be exposed to any real dangers (such as actual heights) and are therefore often more motivated to start therapy voluntarily.

Example 4

Alexander’s passion is designing, planning and constructing buildings. He has always tried to integrate the latest trends and technologies in his projects. His ambition is to make his buildings as modern and efficient as possible.

What new possibilities does Alexander have thanks to virtual and augmented reality?

Example 4

On paper, every building is perfect. But is that still true when people actually enter it?

In virtual and augmented worlds, the dimensions of space – size and depth – are portrayed realistically. If the desired effect is not achieved during planning, the architects can try out alternatives directly.

It is often difficult for customers to imagine a finished project. Virtual and augmented reality, on the other hand, present building plans very vividly. This makes it possible to adapt the plans to the customer’s requests and ideas at a very early stage.

Clouds over Sidra

The project “Clouds over Sidra” impressively illustrates the effect of virtual reality. The project shows a day in the life of Sidra, a twelve-year-old refugee in the Jordanian Za’atari camp. This virtual world can help you understand the worries and fears of the refugees.

According to director Chris Milk, a film like this uses the peculiarities of virtual worlds to consciously draw attention to injustices. The people who can actually change the world – such as politicians – can be there at first hand. This enables them to get a better idea of how those affected feel. Experiences in the virtual world could then have an impact on their decisions. Watch the video Sidra’s World in 360°.

A Question of acceptance?

A study in Germany shows that about one in six Germans has already experienced virtual reality. However, one-third of Germans rule out regular use for themselves. Why is that?

Read on to find out why these technologies can also cause doubts and fear.

A Question of acceptance?

Scenario 1: Virtual Reality

Imagine you are walking through a pedestrian zone. No one is on the street. All you see behind every window are people wearing VR glasses. No one speaks with anyone.

Many people are afraid that virtual reality will lead to people preferring to spend their time there and not in the real world. For outsiders, it is simply not clear what people see, experience or do behind their glasses. Those who are in virtual reality live on teir own and no longer need society.

Will we no longer need the company of real people due to virtual reality? Will this turn everyone into a single player in real life?

A Question of acceptance?

Scenario 2: Augmented Reality

Imagine you are at a job interview. The person sitting across from you is wearing smart glasses. After each of your answers, your conversation partner waits a moment and then formulates a new question. You have the feeling that he’s always a step ahead of you.

Many people are afraid of situations like this and ask themselves: what information does the person with the smart glasses have that I don’t? What are the smart glasses recording right now? In the future, will smart glasses be able to recognize when I’m lying and when I’m telling the truth?

What impact would this have on you in a situation like this? What kind of feelings does this trigger in you?

Ready Player One

Escape to virtual worlds?

The film “Ready Player One” by director Steven Spielberg conjures up this image of the future:

In the future, humanity only lives in the virtual world. They make a living and meet other people there. Although the virtual world is beautiful, reality is chaotic and broken. That’s why more and more people are withdrawing into the OASIS, the digital world.

But is a future like this realistic at all? What do you think? Can virtual and augmented reality become dangerous for people?

Welcome back

Your journey through the world of virtual and augmented reality ends here. Strange worlds, fantastic journeys, and helpful assistance for your professional life await for you behind the next pair of VR or AR glasses. Are you willing to take the plunge?