About this Research Topic
The concept of Virtual Reality (VR) was first formulated in the 1960s by Dr Ivan Sutherland, and realised in the Sword of Damocles head-mounted display. This was followed by another period of development in the 1980s and 1990s, where Jaron Lanier popularised the term ‘virtual reality’ with a great deal of public interest and high expectations that VR would ‘change the world’. After this VR disappeared from public view but has been heavily used in research labs around the world and in industry. Now with the development of new consumer technology and the recent massive explosion of investment and interest in the field there is a greater chance that it is here to stay, possibly as huge as the Smartphone in terms of its ultimate impact on society and our individual lives.
This Research Topic encourages contributions that explore the current and potential impact of VR and related technologies (augmented and mixed reality, tele-immersive robotics) on society and individuals, and also the associated philosophical and ethical implications. VR and related technologies have already had an impact in various domains: amongst academic disciplines it is used heavily and increasingly in psychology, neuroscience, data visualisation, and with strong applications in industry, communications, medicine, surgery, education, and clinical psychology. All this has happened without VR being a mass market product. How will things change when it becomes a normal consumer product with widespread uptake? What new areas can benefit from its use? What risks may society be facing?
Keywords: Virtual reality, VR, virtual environments, societal impact, law, ethics, immersion, presence, serious games, medicine, clinical psychology, journalism, entertainment, long term effects
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