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Blurring The Line Between Realities

by Joshua Reed 4 days ago in tech
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Tech Tuesday: Touch

Blurring The Line Between Realities
Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash

Each day we are getting closer and closer to imitating creation itself. Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Realities (VR, AR, MR) have become ever popular in science fiction and science fact. But how far way are we really from being able to “dive” into a seamless experience with all five, or even more, senses? Well, experts say decades.

One of the hurdles to making VR a truly immersive experience is simulating the true sensation of touch. Haptics, or the use of technology that stimulates the senses of touch and motion, is essential to developing virtual technology to the point that we can’t distinguish it from our own world. Currently, this is simulated by hardware such as Teletact and Haptx gloves.

Not only are these gloves expensive, but they are also (supposedly) unreliable, bulky, and have to be charged. I haven’t tried any kind of Haptic technology, so I’m relying on public reviews, but they don’t sound very immersive. So, maybe this hardware isn’t the answer to making touch a reality in virtual reality.

While it’s still in its early stages, some consumers have high hopes for Neuralink. The creators behind the brain chips have hopes that the electrodes could provide Haptic Feedback to the brain when connected to a robotic arm. While this is meant to provide sensation to those that have prosthetics, it’s not a far leap to imagine that the Neuralink could provide the same sensation within a virtual reality.

Now, neural interface technology isn’t new. But, by directly providing stimulation to the brain, VR, AR, and MR can simulate sight, sound, touch, smell, and maybe even taste. After this, it would just be a question of whether we should augment our reality with immersive technology. That’s for the philosophers to argue about.

I just think it would be cool to swing a sword in a video game and feel its weight or start to sweat from virtual Wii tennis match. Of course, the medical application for immersion is also important. As I said before, those that have lost limbs would be able to feel their prosthetics. Maybe it could be possible to give a certain “sight” to the blind.

Imagine what completely immersive VR would do for the entertainment industry. We wouldn’t just watch movies and stream shows, we would experience them in their entirety. This also has somewhat inappropriate consequences, such as in the adult film industry, but what is innovation without a little weirdness?

The arguments for fully immersive realities are basically the loss of humanity or the fear of being trapped in VR. While these arguments stem from fiction that strives to be just as immersive, they do have a point. I don’t think there is much to fear as long as there is a failsafe put it place for the technology. Maybe a mandatory log out or shut down.

We know from fiction that science can’t help itself, for better or worse. But that’s the point of science. We as a species need to progress with the world beside us or fall behind. Elon would probably agree that we need to augment our reality to keep up with reality. But, he also thinks moving to Mars is the only way humanity will survive in the future.

Another thing for the philosophers are going to argue about is, how much of a reality are we going to be able to create before we become God in our own way. Is that blasphemy? I can’t say, but there are those that likely don’t care. If it improves the world even by one percent, maybe it’s something worth advancing. I’m hopeful for the future, personally.

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About the author

Joshua Reed

Welcome all. Here is a place for me to share my various inventions as the muses communicate them. I plan to follow the schedule below. I hope you enjoy!

Motivation Monday

Tech Tuesday

Writer Wednesday

Thoughtful Thursday

Fiction Friday

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