Looking to the Future: Higher Education in the Metaverse

October 5, 2008

The concept of virtual reality—of humans interacting in computerized, digital environments—has been in existence for over twenty-five years now. The cult-classic movie Tron, perhaps the first movie to explore the concept, was released in 1982, and by the early 1990s, “virtual reality” was the buzzword du jour. Films like Lawnmower Man (1992) provided visions of people entering digital environments through the assistance of external devices worn on their bodies—goggles for seeing, special gloves for touching, and so on. The idea was that at some point in the future, these devices could be miniaturized and worn naturally, allowing people to interact simultaneously with an augmented physical reality as it exists and an immersive virtual reality in whatever form or shape we imagined it.

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