Design and Virtual Reality

Design and Virtual Reality

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1999-9.ch009


Virtual reality (VR) technology is a sophisticated high-tech form of ICT that has recently been enthusiastically promoted as having a great potential benefit to both design activity and design education. VR is a computer-generated visualized form of communication in which participants visit a fantastic world where they feel a sense of presence and interact with each other through the use of first-person perspective screen representations known as avatars. It is often thought that VR is created by computers, but it is in fact a creation of the humans who program computers with their own ontological assumptions, especially about cause and effect relationships. In other words, VR is not an accurate representation of reality. It may – as in VR games – be a gross distortion of reality. Unlike the real world, VR is not independent of human control, and it is nowhere near as complex as everyday life experiences. Therefore, the use of VR for educational purposes remains dubious, especially in regard to the transference of the behaviour of avatars in VR to the understanding users of the technology in real life. So too is the use of VR technology questionable for the work of design, for the simple reason that it does not provide accurate and thorough representations of reality. When VR is compared to the visual representations that human beings make by the mysterious co-ordination of brain and eye and hand, they fall far short of realizing their grandiose claim of being “virtually” real.

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