Refugees reconnecting to homelands with virtual reality

  The entire globe has been through trying times the past year; however a glimmer of happiness due to advancements in virtual reality technology has occurred for this North Korean woman. Hyun Mi fled her hometown in the 1950’s, about 70 years ago, along with many other North Korean people. She was 13 years old at the time. Hyun Mi and her family ran South to escape violence of the Korean War. Mi assumed that she would be there for only a week, but the time quickly turned into 70 years. 

   During that time, it is estimated that about 650,000 North Koreans fled South during the war to South Korea, including Hyun Mi and her family. Most women would stay to protect their homes while the men and children fled. This was due to the fact that the Chinese soldiers were thought to be less likely to kill the women. The border between South and North Korea became heavily closed off and protected which separated many families. Not only were these families separated, but the chances of them reuniting together are close to none. Even to this day, families are not able to see each other. 

   Leaving her home, Hyun Mi accepted the fact that she would never see it again. However, with the modern development of virtual reality technology, Hyun Mi can now see a version of it;  even if it is not in real life. According to, South Korea’s Ministry of Unification asked the country’s Red Cross to connect them with their hometowns. Red Cross then partnered up with the VR company, Tekton Space, and their chief executive to create a virtual reality experience for the refugees to revisit their hometowns. Hyun Mi was the first one to try this experience and helped design it by recalling specific memories that a designer would sketch and eventually evolve into 3D virtual reality designs.