Virtual reality (VR) has the potential to dramatically improve the realism of your experiences. Palmer Luckey, who is frequently considered the father of modern virtual reality, says he created a VR device that will kill the user if they die in-game. It’s one of the many tools being developed to bring the virtual reality experience outside of the screen and into the real world.
According to an email conversation with Lifewire, VR company Trigger XR’s vice president of technology Danny Parks said, “VR systems are already full with feedback, but they’re primarily limited to audio and visual channels.” You can alter your field of view by simply moving your head, or you can alter the soundtrack by simply pressing a button.
Is It Too Realistic?
VR hardware makers are always trying to improve the realism of the experience, but some may argue that Luckey’s latest creation goes too far. When Luckey sold virtual reality headset maker Oculus to Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion, he became a household name.
On his blog, virtual reality (VR) headset owner Lucky Luckey displays three explosives. If you lose the virtual reality game you’re playing, the headgear will explode, he wrote.
“The idea of linking your actual life to your virtual avatar has always fascinated me—you suddenly increase the stakes to the greatest level and drive people to radically rethink how they interact with the virtual environment and the players inside of it,” Luckey said.
“Pumped-up graphics may make a game look more real, but only the possibility of significant repercussions can make you and everyone else in the game feel real.”
Experiencing Virtual Reality
Even while Luckey has no plans to release a consumer version of the fatal VR gear, he did say that many additional items that make VR more lifelike are on the horizon. The use of haptic feedback, in which users’ tactile sensations are incorporated into a virtual reality experience, is a promising new field.
Many systems use ultrasonic fields to simulate touch, while others use gloves or vibration vests to offer mechanical feedback, as Parks pointed out. Although advancements in virtual reality are promising, “anything that profoundly changes the way we feel things in virtual settings will probably be some time before we see it.”
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Haptic feedback gloves are already commercially available, albeit at a hefty price and a relatively large form factor. Take HaptX’s haptic gloves, which retail for $4,500.
As if virtual reality weren’t already lifelike enough, you can now buy a full-body garment called Teslasuit that replicates forces on your body. You can feel the impact of, say, being shot in a virtual reality game as pressure on your body, thanks to the suit.
Immerse’s chief technology officer, Lucas Rodriguez San Pedro, agreed with Lifewire in an email conversation that haptic devices can be helpful for training. In order to more accurately imitate real-world conditions when operating machines, he recommended using haptic gloves or even full-body haptic suits to receive real-world feedback.
“Traditional visual-only VR interactions can provide a high level of authenticity in recreating the experience,” he elaborated. To paraphrase, “but without the tactile feedback, it can lead to unrealistic interactions.”
Sensors for your nose might be integrated into virtual reality systems, allowing you to follow your sense of smell while you explore the metaverse. VR headset attachments that release aroma, water, and heat are now in development, according to Mike Buob, VP of experience and innovation at technology firm Sogeti.
He further, saying, “For instance, a VR headset used to train insurance adjusters to assess property damage might imitate the scent of a fire-damaged home, allowing for more immersive—and useful—training sessions to prepare the adjuster for real-world circumstances.”
A wonderful addition to this would be the ability to virtually smell different foods or drinks. In a new publication, researchers from Sweden outline how the incorporation of fragrances into a virtual wine tasting experience might increase its authenticity.
An individual plays by navigating a digital wine cellar, selecting virtual wine cups containing various wines, and attempting to identify their scents. When the player raises the glass, the miniature scent machine attached to the controller of the virtual reality system releases a scent.
According to one of the paper’s authors, Jonas Olofsson, “the scent game can also challenge participants who already have a sensitive nose,” in a press release. Because of this, the fragrance machine can be used to educate future perfumers and wine connoisseurs.