Welcome to the future. A future no one asked for, but a future nonetheless. Palmer Loki, founder of Oculus, the company behind the most successful virtual reality headset on the market, just announced on his blog that he’s working on a new device… that kills the user if his in-game character dies.
It may seem like a joke, but it isn’t. Luckey is really serious about the idea: “Huge graphics might make the game look more realistic, but only the threat of dire consequences makes the game feel real to you and everyone else in the game.”
Luckey talks about how the idea came from a lot of fantasy and science fiction stories that share a similar theme, with Sword Art Online being at the forefront of everything. In Reki Kawahara’s light novels/manga/anime, thousands of people find themselves trapped in a virtual reality game created by a mad scientist. If their health points reach zero, the VR headset (otherwise known as NerveGear) blasts the user’s brain with microwaves until they die. The same thing happens if someone in the real world tries to remove NerveGear. They will end up killing everyone who tries to help him.
“I’ve always been amazed at the idea of connecting your real life to your virtual avatar — you instantly raise the stakes to the limit and force people to fundamentally rethink how they interact with the virtual world and the players within it,” Loki said. “This is an area of video game mechanics that has never been explored, despite the long history of real-life sports revolving around similar bets. The good news is that we are halfway to making a real NerveGear. The bad news is that so far, you’ve only discovered the half that kills you. The half that kills you. The ideal of equation virtual reality is still many years away.”
How does the killer virtual reality headset work?
Describing how this new device works is kind of chilling and removes any doubts we had about whether the Oculus founder was joking or if he was actually working on it. “In SAO, NerveGear contained a microwave emitter that could be exceeded to lethal levels, something that SAO’s innovation and NerveGear himself (Akihiko Kayaba) were able to hide from their employees, regulators and contract manufacturing partners. I am a very smart guy, but I couldn’t come up with any way To do anything like this work, not without attaching the headset to giant pieces of equipment.Instead, I used three of the explosive charge units I normally use for a different project, and attached them to a narrow-band optical sensor that could detect when the screen was flashing red at a certain frequency, which The game integration on its part makes it very easy for the developer. When the appropriate game screen is displayed, charges are released, instantly destroying the user’s brain.”
Of course, Luckey hasn’t yet dared to try out the headset himself, and he explained that he’s still working on some of the “kinks”. “This is not a perfect system of course. I have plans for an anti-tamper mechanism, such as NerveGear, that will make it impossible to remove or damage the headset. However, there are a whole lot of failures that can occur and kill the user at the wrong time, which is why I didn’t work on using the balls to use them myself, and also why I am convinced that, as in SAO, the final trigger must already be associated with a highly intelligent agent who can easily determine whether the termination conditions are indeed true.”
Considering the amount of bugs and issues that modern headphones have at the moment, we’d probably have to wait until they actually test them out before we just put them in excitement mode.
source | Palmer Loki