Connected by one network: will a person live in a virtual world?

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Connected by one network: will a person live in a virtual world?
Connected by one network: will a person live in a virtual world?

These days, fantastic stories about virtual reality are turning into objective reality. What awaits us in the future? Maybe we will all soon be living in the matrix?

Virtual world

Virtual revolution

The term "virtual reality" has been around for decades. The first person to create a helmet of augmented (according to other sources - virtual) reality is the American computer scientist Ivan Sutherland. A relatively primitive device by modern standards allowed a person to be transported into a system of three-dimensional wire rooms. Virtual and augmented reality are different concepts. The first creates an integral artificial world, and the second only introduces artificial elements into our perception of the real world.

Today we see technologies that will form the basis of virtual reality tomorrow. For example, the famous Oculus Rift gadget is a virtual reality helmet developed by Oculus VR, which was created by Americans John D. Carmack II and Palmer Freeman Luckey.

The prototype of the device was presented at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2012. A Kickstarter campaign helped raise funds - in one month, the developers received about $ 2.5 million. The first development (intended for developers) version of the helmet was called the DK1. These kits began shipping to customers in March 2013 and were priced at $ 300. The device included one 6-7-inch HD TFT screen and two eye lenses.

Soon there was a version for developers DK2, and later the public saw the third version of the helmet - Crescent Bay. All three developer versions were produced in limited editions and without warranty. But right now, the first Oculus Rift Consumer Version (CV1) is in its final stages of development. Obviously, the helmet will have a 7-inch display and 24-bit color depth. The screen resolution will also increase - up to 1080p.

But how is the desired effect achieved and why exactly the Oculus Rift can revolutionize? Palmer Luckey draws attention to the fact that the development of this technology is constrained by the limitations of the human body. Many users of stereo glasses felt sick after the tenth minute of their use. To avoid this, it was necessary to reduce the delays between head rotation and image reaction to a few milliseconds. This result was achieved at the cost of a lot of developer effort - Oculus VR worked closely with software developers from around the world. The Oculus Rift resembles a snorkeling mask but is comfortable and easy to wear. The lenses in the Oculus Rift helmet allow a person to see as if he were peering into a 27-inch monitor from a distance of half a meter. The helmet covers the entire field of view, blocking all external stimuli and allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the game. Due to the lenses, the game world looks curved - curved outward and around us. The image resolution is poor, but in the future this deficiency is likely to be eliminated.

In March 2014, Facebook bought the Oculus rift for $ 2 billion. Social networking founder Mark Zuckerberg emphasized that it was a long-term investment. For the platform to become attractive to developers, the number of devices sold must be 50-100 million units. Facebook intends to wait a whole decade for this.

As revolutionary as the Oculus Rift helmet is, it has obvious limitations, because the human body remains outside the computer world.Engineer Oliver Kreylos tried to overcome these limitations by “transferring” his body to the virtual world. To do this, in addition to the Oculus Rift helmet, Kreyolos used three Kinect sensors. They were placed in a small room and programmed to create a 3D model of the user's body online. Then he put the incarnation into his office model. And although the idea looked interesting, movement in space in this case was limited by the walls of the room.

Virtuix also contributed with the Virtuix Omni device. The omnidirectional treadmill allows the player to plunge headlong into fictional worlds - Virtuix Omni gives the opportunity to run, jump, crouch and move sideways. In a horizontal position, the player will be supported by a special belt frame. The platform is small and doesn't take up much space. At the same time, the cost of the device is only $ 500.

Another solution to complement the Oculus Rift is the Razer Hydra controller. It makes it possible to control the character in the game by moving his hands in the real world. The Razer Hydra is extremely simple, comfortable and compact. The sales of the device started in 2011, and its price is $ 140.


Reality and virtuality

The described gadgets are just the first step towards full immersion in the virtual world. However, until recently, all such conversations were mainly related to the gaming industry. But can immersion in virtual reality solve the pressing problems of humanity?

Analysts believe that virtual reality will soon move from the gaming industry to other areas of human activity. According to research companies Business Insider and TechSci Research, by 2018 more than 25 million people will use artificial reality, and this number will include not only gamers.

Now Californian company Control VR is developing special gloves that will push the boundaries of virtual reality. With their help, you can see the position of your hands and other parts of the body in the computer world, as well as manipulate animated objects.


The effect is achieved by accelerometers, magnetometers and gyroscopes, which are placed over the entire surface of the hands. Sensors are also present on the user's shoulders and forearms. Control VR CEO Alex Sarnoff says the gloves will find their way into a wide variety of applications. So, the device is able to help people who have survived a stroke or other serious illnesses to recover. A person will be able to undergo a course of therapy in the virtual world, while being not in a hospital, but in his apartment.

Sarnoff is confident that we will be lucky enough to witness the technological revolution with our own eyes. We will see the emergence of virtual reality applications that will fundamentally change recreation, communication and self-development - in general, the whole human life will be different.

Virtual reality can provide an invaluable service for finding the information you need in fast-moving information flows. The necessary data can be obtained even faster than now, and it will also become clearer.

An important area is the training of specialists in the military and civilian spheres. Take surgery, for example. Artificial reality will make it possible to train a specialist much faster than before, because he will be able to train in conditions as close as possible to "working" ones. We have already seen something similar in the training of pilots and astronauts. And for professional training, you will no longer need a bulky simulator - a compact device will be enough for this.

It is appropriate here to recall the 3D VIRTSIM simulator, created by the American arms giant Raytheon. It allows you to transfer weapons and fighters to the virtual world - it can be a forest, a city street, a room with hostages, etc. The concept is built around a special program, virtual reality glasses, as well as infrared emitters fixed on the body and weapons of the fighters. In addition, simulators can come in handy when it comes to overcoming fear or phobia. It is important to note that in the future simulations will become even more realistic - right up to the complete immersion of a person in the virtual world, when he will no longer be able to determine exactly where he is now - in reality or virtual.


Artificial reality will play a huge role in industry. For example, in the automotive industry. Such important aspects as creating a model / prototype, blowing a car model in a wind tunnel and expensive crash tests will forever sink into oblivion. Their place will be taken by computer modeling, which allows you to recreate all this in detail.

Further more. Employees of companies no longer have to sweat in a stuffy office. Sooner or later, technologies will make it possible to create a 3D model of the human body and transfer it to the virtual world. Of course, the Internet today makes it possible to conduct correspondence or create videoconferences, but this is simply not always convenient.

A hybrid of virtual and augmented reality is being created by Magic Leap. The concept was called "kinematic reality". With the help of special gadgets, creators want to bring virtual elements (such as figures or sculptures) into the real world. Thus, we are talking about some kind of holograms. Experts highly appreciate the project, and Google has already invested $ 542 million in the startup.

Into virtuality with a head

But what about fantastic stories about humanity, which has become hostage to the virtual world? Of course, there are enough captives of the Network today, but we are talking about a complete imitation of life - about a virtual world in which we can feel tastes, smells and everything that is characteristic of our daily life.

And although information technologies are confidently moving forward, complete immersion in virtuality does not seem to threaten us, at least in the near future.

Technologies themselves play an important role in this, because modern people cannot be surprised with anything. For example, 4D technology did not revolutionize the perception of cinema. The combination of 3D technologies and physical effects synchronized with the film does not make a person a part of what is happening on the screen, but only makes it possible to have more fun.

It will be very difficult to deceive the mind. But science fiction writers are not discouraged: they have long made virtual reality one of the most popular areas of their activity. The most advanced of all promising methods of creating virtual reality can be considered direct stimulation of the nervous system. The concept proposes the integration of virtual reality into the human nervous system, which serves to perceive reality. The user will receive artificial nerve impulses, and the real impulses will be blocked and will not be able to reach the central nervous system.

Renowned computer scientist Ernest W. Adams divides virtual immersion into six categories: tactical, strategic, narrative, emotional, sensory, spatial and psychological. In the latter case, the player's consciousness is, as it were, transferred into the body of the character he controls, but at the same time, the person can feel his real, physical body.

One of the plots of the development of the situation is this: in the 2020s, nanorobots will appear, which, once in the human brain, will be responsible for the virtual sense of smell, vision and auditory effects. Such devices will not be larger than blood cells - they will be able to constantly reside in the body and be activated at the right time. Miniature devices will find their initial application, for example, in medicine, and then (when their safety is confirmed) will spread to other areas of life.

But will a person agree to voluntarily exchange their familiar world for virtual reality? You can say yes without hesitation. Environmental problems, social tension, and finally, material difficulties push people into the arms of the virtual world. To be convinced of this, just look at the statistics of online games, where millions of new players have appeared in recent years, and they often spend more than half of their time on the game.It remains only to guess how much time a person will spend in the virtual world, if he looks like two drops like the real one.

Virtual life is not the norm yet

“A modern person already partly lives in virtual reality,” says Lyubov Zayeva, a psychoanalyst and specialist of the European Confederation of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. - The disconnection of the Internet, the absence of any significant object on the Internet is experienced as a strong stress. And surfing the Internet is the beginning of the day, lunch and evening pastime for most of the adult population. Children have become hostages of virtual reality (games and social networks), partly due to the fault of adults. At birth, a person comes into the world that adults created before him. And adults introduce him to this world, teach the rules of behavior in it, convey them through fears. For example, it is scary on the street, adults are dangerous, you are helpless and stupid, it is easy for you to do harm, everything around is unpredictable, parents are also helpless, they do not know how to protect you - it is better to sit next to them. And the children are sitting. Where it is safe, that is, at home. In this sense, virtual reality for them is controlled and safe.

The Internet has also changed object relations. More and more people are building relationships at a distance, sometimes without even meeting. The illusion of closeness and complete control over the situation is created. The fact that some people have completely switched their libido from real people to virtual objects is also a plus. For example, exhibitionists can get relief much easier and faster. As well as those who in reality have poor control over their aggressive sexual impulses. Pornography as a part of virtual leisure reduces fear of a real woman, helps to find an object in accordance with your fantasies and inclinations - without harming others. True, if virtual reality becomes the only "place" for receiving pleasure, then later in life reality, outside the computer, a person may begin to experience difficulties. Complete withdrawal into virtual reality is a serious symptom, similar to a psychotic desire to leave this world. The willingness to live only in virtual reality in our time is not the norm. But who knows, perhaps this will change over time, and long virtual "vacations" will become commonplace and part of modern life.

The concept of virtual reality is presented in such cult films as the fantastic trilogy "The Matrix". The artificial world also formed the basis for the psychedelic thriller "Existence", which was released in 1999. A curious look at virtual reality is presented in the film "The Thirteenth Floor" by Josef Rusnak. In a philosophical sense, the 1999 picture "The Dark City" may seem very interesting, in which an alien race settled people in an artificial metropolis, periodically changing their memories and living conditions in order to understand what the human soul is.

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