A Look at the Latest Gadgets in Virtual Reality

There is no shortage of new innovations to make virtual reality even more immersive. The following six-minute video compiled by Real Spirit Dynamics gives us a glimpse of some of the new VR technology that is currently in development:

Among the projects profiled is a VR chair by a company called MMOne which turns on three different axes:

I wonder how much this little gadget is going to cost when it is commercially released? This potentially vomit-inducing chair is obviously intended more for serious education (flight training schools, etc.) and for high-end gaming arcades than for personal use in your own home (unless you’re a millionaire with a thirst for bleeding-edge VR).

(A big thank-you to Bruce Thomson for alerting me to the first video via Facebook!)


The Killer App for Virtual Reality is the Metaverse

Anna Bashmakova and Oculus Rift (photo by Sergey Galyonkin on FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0)

Loup Ventures is a research-driven venture capital firm based in Minneapolis and New York investing in frontier technology. They just wrote an article on Medium titled Is VR Dead or Just Getting Started?

Here’s a quote:

VR’s Killer App, the Metaverse

Everyone is searching for the killer app for VR, the application or experience that will be a system seller like Wii Sports for the Wii or VisiCalc for the Apple II. VR’s killer app, we believe, is already in development and should be ready for mainstream adoption in the next five years.

The Metaverse, a term coined in the 1992 sci-fi classic, Snow Crash, is a virtual universe similar in many ways to reality. Players can be anyone, do anything, or go anywhere, regardless of their real life circumstances. The Metaverse will be a place where all of what VR has to offer branches off from. A place where you can socialize, do business, shop, go on outerworld adventures, watch esports tournaments, and more. The limits lie in the imagination of users and developers who will compete for prime real estate in the Metaverse. We will take an in-depth look into the potential of the Metaverse in a future note, but for now, just picture The Oasis from Ready Player One.

High Fidelity raised $35 million in June, with the goal of bringing VR to a billion people through their new VR world. Linden Labs, maker of the popular online role-playing game, Second Life, is also working on bringing a Metaverse to the mainstream with Project Sansar. It remains to be seen who will become the real-life Gregarious Games, but one thing is certain — the Metaverse will play a critical role in the future of VR.

And I do agree with this. VR’s “killer app” will be the metaverse. Sansar and High Fidelity are just two of dozens of platforms which are in various early stages of development, and which could potentially transform the way we use computers and communicate with each other. It’s a major paradigm shift, similar to the one where we moved away from command-line MS-DOS and towards using a mouse with graphical user interfaces like Windows and the Mac.

One day (just not as quickly as the most enthusiastic forecasters predicted), we will all be in a form of virtual reality/augmented reality/mixed reality, both for work and personal use. It’s just going to take time, maybe another decade. In the meantime, enjoy the ride!

Can VR Make Us More Human? A Chat with Peter Rubin and Philip Rosedale

Can VR Make Us More Human High Fidelity 19 Sept 2018.jpg

This evening, I attended a talk in High Fidelity between Philip Rosedale (the CEO of High Fidelity and the founder of Second Life) and Peter Rubin, a Senior Editor at WIRED who has recently written a book about VR titled Future Presence: How Virtual Reality Is Changing Human Connection, Intimacy, and the Limits of Ordinary Life

The premise of the talk (from the event description) was:

Many argue that mobile smartphones and social media have made us less connected to our fellow human beings. VR has the potential to course-correct the isolating nature of much of today’s technology and the opportunity to make us more connected and even more human.

Here’s a livestream of the hour-long talk, which I thoroughly enjoyed (and I even got an opportunity to ask a question at the end!). If you missed the event, I would encourage you to watch this wide-ranging and fascinating discussion about virtual reality and the various social VR platforms, held within High Fidelity.

Can VR Mess With Your Sense of Time?

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am choosing to participate in the Virtual Universe (VU) Initial Coin Offering Partner Program. Why? Two reasons:

  1. After my recent guided tour of VU, I feel very strongly that this is going to be a successful and popular virtual world/MMO hybrid platform, and I want to be a part of it when VU launches their beta this summer. This is the very first blockchain-based virtual world that I actually feel excited about!
  2. As a Canadian citizen, I reside in one of the three countries where I am currently legally forbidden from purchasing VU tokens (the other two are the United States and China). This means that the only way I can legitimately earn VU tokens to use in this social VR space before the beta launch is via the VU ICO Partner Program.

I want you to know this up front: this blogpost is a promotion for VU, in exchange for VU tokens.  You can follow on this webpage to see how many VU tokens I have earned by completing tasks in this Partner Program if you wish (right now, I am at number two on the VU Token Leaderboard). There’s nothing stopping you from participating in this Partner Program yourself, and earning some VU tokens!

IMPORTANT: VU Tokens are not a real currency. They are ERC-20 based blockchain tokens intended to permit players of Virtual Universe exclusive access to digital assets within a VR game known as Virtual Universe (VU). They are a form of in-game virtual currency.  Virtual value attributed to the VU Token will be as a result of in-game efforts by players, and no future value is represented or guaranteed.


A recently published article by the team behind Virtual Universe, titled Let’s Do the Time Warp… In VR! raises an interesting question: can virtual reality actually mess with your sense of time?

There are countless reports from VR users that have experienced some level of time dilation after engaging in a virtual world. As users experience a state of flow and presence in that world — enabled by a realistic experience combined with engaging activities — their perception of real time can waver.

This fits the old adage that “time flies when you’re having fun.”

Research from a team led by Dr. Bruder of the University of Hamburg sheds some light on the biological causes of the time-warp phenomenon and how it can be manipulated. Their research noted that the body’s circadian rhythm, or body clock, is largely informed by cues known as zeitgebers. These zeitgebers give the human body an unconscious estimate of the actual real-world time, the most prominent being the sun and its movement through the day.

In a virtual world, particularly in VR, the user inhabits an avatar and has complete freedom and parity of movement. This allows us to play with these zeitgebers programmatically as a scene is rendered. Adjusting the speed of the sun’s cycle, or keeping the user busy with cognitive tasks were shown to have the greatest effects.

It’s an intriguing idea. Have you encountered time dilation—or another form of time distortion—in a VR headset? Sound off in the comments!