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Could VR help with crippling social isolation?

It sounds counter-intuitive—using virtual reality, a technology that solo people wear on their heads, to help with crippling isolation. But that’s exactly what a new organization, the Balboa Foundation, is evangelizing VR for, given its ability to bring anyone anywhere on Earth.  “For the elderly or disabled,” UploadVR wrote about the foundation’s launch, “virtual reality … Continue reading “Could VR help with crippling social isolation?”

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It sounds counter-intuitive—using virtual reality, a technology that solo people wear on their heads, to help with crippling isolation.

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But that’s exactly what a new organization, the Balboa Foundation, is evangelizing VR for, given its ability to bring anyone anywhere on Earth. 

“For the elderly or disabled,” UploadVR wrote about the foundation’s launch, “virtual reality could allow them to escape to worlds not possible for them to explore otherwise. For the “Hikikomori” and agoraphobic, it could provide that valuable bridge to help them normalize an experience beyond isolation.”

It’s worth noting that the same case was made about virtual worlds like Second Life, another realm people sneered at because so many of its users are on computers by themselves. Those doing the sneering usually didn’t realize the kinds of doors these technologies open for those who are locked in those rooms against their will.  

About the author

Daniel Terdiman is a San Francisco-based technology journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. A veteran of CNET and VentureBeat, Daniel has also written for Wired, The New York Times, Time, and many other publications

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