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Virtual Reality Helps a North Korean Woman Reminisce Her Childhood Memories after 70 Years

How does it feel to distance oneself from the beloved ones? The pain reaps your soul apart. Hyun Mi, a thirteen-year-old North Korean teen had witnessed the same pain when she was forced to leave her motherland to escape the conflict on the Korean Peninsula. Hyun Mi, who has turned 83 now, expressed her pain in an interview stating that her still immature brain was convinced to believe they were flying for a trip to South Korea for just a week. A week that became seventy years!

There were thousands of other people who fled the Korean ground in the 1950s when the Korean war broke out. These people never got the chance to return. Hyun Mi fled with her parents and five siblings, leaving behind two of her sisters and her grandmother. It was believed the Chinese soldiers were less likely to harm women. The war continued for three years and finally came to an end in 1953 with an armistice. But, to utter disgust, the Korean government erected a border line that prevented everyone from crossing the line. The war ultimately showed the worst side of it, separating people and memories and never letting them reunite. However, the government of both countries allowed brief, emotional meetings among the relatives, which again was conducted on the basis of a lottery system. The strength and age of family members would decide the meeting possibilities.

Unify Families

The ripped blood relations were driven more by anguish mentality than emotional attachments. It was this anger that prompted the Ministry of Unification of South Korea to initiate a project to unify the families. The primary goal of the project will be to create virtual experiences for North Korean migrants. Ahn Hyo-jin, the Chief executive of a Seoul-based Virtual Reality company, worked in collaboration with the Red Cross Society of South Korea. He had interviewed a number of displaced refugees from North Korea, and all of them were yearning to return to their hometown, but could not due to certain situational inconveniences. And, Hyun MI was one of the refugees.

Virtual Reality Helps a North Korean Woman Reminisce Her Childhood Memories after 70 Years

Recall memories

When Ahn was asked about the working principle of the Virtual reality machine, he was quite a lot excited to explain and hoped for its positive results. His company had asked Hyun Mi to recall some of her vivid childhood memories. A designer would sketch her memories and turn them into 3D designs. At first, they were unsure if the process would work out. But, when the team made Hyun wear the VR headset, to everyone’s amazement, Hyun was able to relive her memories. Ahn also added that they could see Hyun was in tears as she recollected the images of her past. Ahn and her team were overwhelmed to create such a technology that could make people reminisce their once lost memories.

Feel the experience

Hyun Mi said in her interview that she never wanted any unification, but to visit her sisters in person at least once. That could not be accomplished with a VR project as such technological experiences do not include people. But, those who lost their hopes in a span of seventy years could at least find it enough to feel the experience, if not their touch.

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