Through the Looking Glass

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By Aileen Kwun and Dwell
Breakthroughs in VR hold promise for architects and designers.

Virtual reality technology has been kicking around for nearly 50 years—even more, if you consider sci-fi a reputable source—but March 2016 marked a breakthrough for the nascent medium with the launch of Oculus Rift, the first VR headset geared toward a consumer audience. 

"VR offers a one-to-one hyperreal experience, a connection of our consciousness to an art form," said Jessica Brillhart, principal filmmaker for VR at Google, at a recent conference organized by NEW INC and Kill Screen in New York City. 

In addition to the apparent gaming and entertainment uses, VR’s blend of 3D visuals with the element of time holds the promise of a range of applications—from immersive renderings for architects and designers, to virtual classroom field trips, to therapy sessions. Researchers say VR’s ability to have users walk in another’s shoes make it an apt "empathy machine."

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