New Virtual Reality Program Offers Preview of Death and Out-of-Body Experience
Some people, who have already taken the VR “death simulator” plunge, warn that it can be an anxiety-inducing experience that may even cause panic.
With no one really knowing what it’s like to die once and for all, Australian artist Shaun Gladwell did not think twice about creating a new virtual reality (VR) simulation that gives participants an insight into the afterlife.
The simulation is part of Gladwell’s exhibit called “Passing Electrical Storms”, which is featured in the Melbourne Now culture festival held at the National Gallery of Victoria.
The artist has developed an “extended reality” (XR) which guides participants through a simulated de-escalation of life, from cardiac arrest to brain death, a VR experience that is reportedly dubbed anxiety-inducing.
The simulation also features an out-of-body portion, which allows users to look down on their dead bodies as they float above. Individuals going through the experience are hooked to a heart monitor, and they can quit at any time they find it too uncomfortable. Staff is on hand to “pull you out” if it gets too unsettling.
Marcus Crook, a Melbourne local who also has an exhibit at the festival, said in a TikTok video that he can see “how people would say it [the VR experience] causes anxiety and panic. It definitely borderlines that – they do put your finger on a heart rate monitor and then tell you to raise your hand if you’ve had enough and want to quit.”
“What happens is you’re lying down, the bed vibrates, and you flatline. The doctors come over the top of you. You can see yourself in the goggles and they try to revive you – it doesn’t work. Then you float up out past them into space, and it keeps going,” Crook added.
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