Saturday, 31 October 2015

IT Kitchen: Halloween Virtual Reality "where Looks Can Kill"

It’s Halloween in the IT kitchen and we step into Virtual reality Halloween with Zombie Shooter VR from Fibrum

I arrive in halloween VR facing a wall cabinet of weapons. There is a small cross-hair in my field of vision which I can use to target things by moving my head and “looking” at things. I look at and target a handgun until the selection dial turns 360 degrees and acknowledges my choice. I look around the room - it’s dark and claustrophobic. I look for a way out, find a door, look at the handle until the dial turns 360 degrees - the door opens and I find myself in a tunnel. Moving forward I come to a glass barrier - I shoot at an image of an eye and the glass shatters. The tunnel continues to a mesh fence and zombie guardsman - I fire several shots and learn just how hard it is to kill a zombie ... they are already dead! I approach a subway train and walk quickly through - thankfully it’s deserted. I emerge in an underground work area where groups of zombies approach - I fire a great many shots but despite my best efforts I am overwhelmed.

I die in virtual reality, snap off the headset and like a dreamer from sleep I am still alive in the real world.

In general consumer virtual reality today we have only our head movements to interact with the environment - to select things, push buttons and kill to zombies we have to look at them. This will change, virtual reality environments and interactions will become more immersive and more realistic with better processors, higher definition displays, more senses, more body parts and wearable technology.

Virtual reality presents to our senses and if perception is reality - I wonder if our notions of reality could become confused when using it?

In normal dreams we wake up when the going gets tough but virtual reality is more like a lucid dream where the dreamer has conscious interaction with the dream environment. I’m not sure if anyone has ever died for real in the conditions of a lucid dream e.g. from fear\shock as they fall from a great height. Motion sickness is already a problem with virtual reality and as it becomes more realistic - I wonder just how deeply we could be affected and if it's possible to die for real in the conditions of virtual reality?

Screen addiction is already a problem for many people but screens are still part of the real world and we can still aware of the real world around us. Virtual reality is immersive and will become more realistic and compelling over time - I wonder how this will affect those with a predisposition to addiction.

Virtual reality immersion in our own fears and fantasies - the way we deal with this will be down to human nature …  just be careful - you could end up in halloween where looks could kill!

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