WASHINGTON — Jem Jenkins Jones was stuck at home in Wales for much of the past year amid pandemic lockdowns but managed to fulfil a promise to her 10-year-old daughter to see the northern lights from Iceland and South Africa’s game reserves — in virtual reality.
“She was amazed,” she said, calling the VR travel experiences “a lifesaver for us.”
Strict lockdowns and travel limitations during the pandemic have sparked fresh interest in immersive virtual travel experiences, which have become more accessible and affordable with new apps and VR hardware.
Even those confined to their homes can take a virtual jaunt to Machu Picchu, the rainforests of Borneo or a road trip across the United States.
Data on VR travel usage is limited but developers have seen surging interest since the pandemic hit.
“It has been skyrocketing,” said Cezara Windrem, creator of the Alcove VR platform at AARP Innovation Labs. “We’re getting more adoption every month.”
Alcove enables users to visit exotic locales such as Australia’s...read more...