Escaping into the jungle or tea with any Disney character was easy for my five-year-old self with a View-Master. After being well used by the two Miller girls, our View-Master is in the toy collection ready to entertain visiting kids with ancient relics that give a few moments of amazement.
The modern View-Finder takes escaping to a different place to a new level with virtual reality and Google Cardboard. A 360-degree view of buffalos in a national park or a stroll through New York City is now at everyone’s fingertips.
News stories are now brought to life. The reader, now the viewer, is in a Syrian refugee camp or along the U.S/Mexico border. This closer connection to the journalism is slowly gaining attention.
My first experience with this new technology was using the New York Times virtual reality app. Instantly immersed into the story, flying through the air in a helicopter, and being able to look up to the rotors or down to the ground a few hundred feet below made it feel as I was truly sitting on the struts.
The few seconds I was able to watch the virtual reality news story grabbed my attention and senses. As I am typing now, the full story is downloading and going to watch it in its entirety. This time, I won’t have the Google Cardboard to enhance the experience, but can still view the 360-degree view on my smartphone.
If you have some free time, try the New York Times virtual reality app for yourself and see if this new form of journalism interests you.