TED Conference VR

Top 5 TED Talks on VR and Immersive Technology5 min read

Nick Rasmussen

Virtual Reality has been here for a while now, and it seems like every few months there’s a new major product launch shaking things up a bit. Prices are racing down, while productivity and innovation lunges forward like never before. If you haven’t been reading along on the web or known someone intimately familiar with the subject, it may seem like this boom of virtual reality came out of nowhere. That is not the case though, and to pay homage to the people who helped get this thing going, today we’re listing up our top 5 favourites of the best TED talks ever made about VR and immersive technology. On today’s list we have a mix of background and nationalities with a common interest in popularizing this thing we do, and to bring virtual reality one step closer into the hearts and minds of the people capable of making the surge happen. These are the top 5 most influential TED Talks given on the topic of virtual reality and immersive technology:


How Virtual Reality Can Create The Ultimate Empathy Machine

Chris Milk is an American popularizer of VR, who apart from having played a massive role in the advancement of our industry, managed to found and co-found (respectively) two companies of a similar nature. Here Be Dragons, and Within. Back in 2015 he held a talk about all the different ways virtual reality can help accelerate the growth of a vast range of industries, and doing it he coined the term “empathy machine”. The TED talk takes us across several topics such as science, business, the big world (including the current crisis in Syria), art and healthcare. In short, VR is so much more than just a way to make video games more immersive. Prepare yourself to embark on a 10-minute journey that will give you all the hope in the world that there is a bright future ahead.


The Future of News? Virtual Reality

Nonny de la Pena, also heralded as the Godmother of Virtual Reality, is next up on today’s list with her eye-opening talk from 2015 in which she addresses virtual reality as a medium to tell stories from the world outside our window. The world we don’t see, but rely on the latest innovations from the realm of reporting and journalism to get a grasp of. Through Nonny’s work as a reporter she has helped spark a brand-new movement of journalists and self-made enthusiasts dedicated on making the use of immersive reporting, a natural part of the 21st century reporters toolkit. Her work through 20 years has landed her numerous award-winning projects across all realms of digital media. BBC, Vice and Wired, to name a few. During this TED talk we’re going no only to experience hard-but-necessary-to-watch reporting from the world’s crisis points, but also get an idea of how 3D environments play a role in telling stories as well.


A Glimpse of the Future Through an Augmented Reality Headset

Meron Gribetz is an Israeli entrepreneur whose background varies as colorful as having served in the Israeli Defense Force, worked out of Silicon Valley and founded one of the most influential names in the realm of immersive technology, Meta. The talk revolves around augmented reality, and how, in the future once the technology is fully developed, inject a digital overlay into the physical world and merge the two into a playful symbiotic duo, rather than have the two so painfully separate as we do today. If you would like to take a step back from virtual reality and video games, and explore the benefits this technology can provide the workforce and make our lives easier, lean back and take this one for a spin.


The Birth of Virtual Reality as an Art Form

Next up we have a Ted talk about how to consider art in relation to the innovations in our industry. Virtual Reality can do so many things in terms of tweaking and improving the workflow in our day-to-day lives, and the ways we consume our media. With that being said though, there is still a strong case for utilizing virtual reality as means to an end regarding the arts. What’s incredible about Virtual Reality as an art form is that the screen or space separating the audience from the story is completely shattered. This point has been iterated by companies all around the world these days, but it was Chris Milk in his chat from 2016 who was among the first voices to hammer the point home.


How Augmented Reality Will Change Sports & Build Empathy

Last up on today’s list we have a former NFL punter for the Minnesota Vikings. Enduring a whopping 8 seasons on the roster of one of the toughest sports team in the world, Chris did a TED talk about the wonders of Augmented Reality and its influence on sports. The talk is heartfelt, humorous and has without a doubt helped kindle a flame within many a VR enthusiast over the years. The talk was made several years before immersive technology really took off, with the 2016 launch of the first commercial launch of the Hololens. With a leg in each camp – empathy and the world of sports, there’s a little something for everyone.


Summary: Top 5 Motivational Talks about Virtual Reality

That’s it for today’s list. There’s a lot more incredible work to be found, if you look under the hood of TEDx talks, and we will be covering all of those in an upcoming post, later this year. The needle that indicates our progress in VR is being moved every single day by technology companies, journalists, medical professionals and good old-fashioned tech enthusiasts, and for us, that means that there’s plenty more to be covered down the road. It probably won’t be long until we hear the first few TED talks from the fields of medicine and education, but once we do – we’ll be the first to let you know.

Written by Nick Rasmussen

Blogging about VR and helping Envato grow their affiliate program.

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