Future tourists could "travel the virtual world instead of the physical"

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: advances in 3D-scanning technology could enable virtual tourism by providing a "life-like experience" of faraway places says architect Pernilla Ohrstedt (+ movie).

"In the near future it's really conceivable that we will start travelling the virtual world instead of the physical world, because it will be scanned at such high resolution," she says. "It will give us a really life-like experience of being in that place."

Virtual tourist destinations could also be altered or enhanced, Ohrstedt suggests.

"Having a virtual replica of the world will let us start inserting things into that world that we design for it, that don't exist in the real world," she explains.

Pernilla Ohrstedt portrait
Pernilla Ohrstedt

The 3D scanning technology already exists to capture the world in extremely high resolution. As the technology proliferates, Ohrstedt believes we will gradually build up this "virtual replica" of our environment.

Such a replica could also allow architects to try out and experiment with new buildings before they are built.

"We might start to try things out in the virtual world before we do it in the real world," she says. "It's a replica that gives us an opportunity to explore and create alternative scenarios."

3D scan of designjunction
3D scan of the Dezeen and MINI Frontiers exhibition venue

Ohrstedt is a London-based architect, whose work includes the interactive Coca-Cola Beatbox pavilion she designed together with Asif Khan for the London 2012 Olympics.

She worked with 3D-scanning company ScanLAB to create the backdrop for the Dezeen and MINI Frontiers exhibition by scanning the venue and superimposing that digital data back onto the physical space via hundreds of thousands of white vinyl dots.

The exhibition took place at designjunction during London Design Festival from 17 to 21 September 2014.

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers is a year-long collaboration with MINI exploring how design and technology are coming together to shape the future.

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers