Virtual Reality could be the first medium to become aware of our emotional selves. When people think of VR they may think of isolation, however VR can be a space for connection, connection to our emotional selves. How can we make use of Virtual Reality environments to improve our well-being and become purposeful spaces that serve our health?
My Masters research focused on the topic of Well-being and Virtual Reality and how can this platform be used to facilitate ‘awareness’ experiences. Through developing an understanding of the neuroscience around Virtual Reality and our body’s biofeedback responses, I understood that through virtual reality it would be possible to develop an awareness of our biofeedback through a visual feedback loop. A VR environment could respond to how we are feeling and could function as ‘Time Out’ stress relief spaces and that improve our sense of well-being.
The project “Finding Space” is a biofeedback mindfulness inspired virtual reality experience, an environment created to facilitate awareness through conscious breathing. This experience was developed as a response to the rise in depression and mental health issues which are making a devastating impact on our health, our relationships, and the environments we live in. Rather than creating experiences to escape these issues, why not create experiences that can address it and empower ourselves to combat these difficulties?
Virtual Reality therapy has been developing since the 1980s to successfully treat PTSD however access to this technology has been quite limited until now. Technology is a tool; how we choose to design and use it will influence how we live our lives.
Images of ‘Finding Space in use at TECH OPEN AIR, Europe’s leading Interdisciplinary Design Festival. The project was selected as part of their Future Arcade. Since then the project has been exhibited in Ireland. I have also given a VR masterclass and workshop in BIMM Berlin and The Factory Berlin.