Creator of Oculus Rift Built a VR Headset That Can Kill You for Real

Palmer Luckey, the creator of the original Oculus Rift headset, says he has modified a VR headset so that it can kill the user for real. The provocative art project was inspired by the anime Sword Art Online In which players trapped in VR die for real if they die in the virtual world.

In the anime Sword Art OnlineNovember 6, 2022 is the day that the VRMMORPG goes public, and the same day that players learn the dire circumstances of their situation. As the story goes, unbeknownst to those who have joined the game, the NerveGear VR headset they are wearing will kill them in real life if they die in the virtual world. They will also die if someone tries to remove the headset from their real body.

Although there is a long history of anime based on virtual reality, sword Art Online Reached popularity around the time the Oculus Rift was starting to gain traction through its record-breaking 2012 Kickstarter.

Lukey, the creator of the Oculus Rift, told the many people who asked him if he knew about the anime Sword Art Online At the time he was getting the newly formed company, Oculus, off the ground. Not only did Lukey know about the series, he became something of a mega-fan…the kind who would get figurines of him and his wife dressed as the show’s main characters as a wedding gift.

Through Luckey’s unique experience as a VR pioneer, mega-fan of Sword Art OnlineAnd later founding a defense technology company, there could hardly be someone more apt to do what was next…

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On 6 November 2022 – the relevant date in Sword Art Online-Luckey claims he made a headset capable of killing its user via three explosive charges that could be triggered if the player dies in virtual reality.

A picture of the headset — a modified Quest Pro — that Luckey says can kill its user | Image courtesy Palmer Luckey

[…] I used three of the explosive charge modules I usually use for a different project, tying them to a narrow-band photosensor that can detect when the screen flashes red at a specific frequency, making game-over integration from the developer very easy. . When an appropriate game-over screen is displayed, the charges fire, instantly destroying the user’s brain.

Luckey believes that the ultimate realism in VR can only come from such extreme stakes.

The idea of ​​tying your real life to your virtual avatar has always fascinated me – you instantly raise the stakes to the maximum level and force people to fundamentally rethink how they interact with the virtual world and the players within it. Pumped up graphics may make a game look more real, but only the threat of serious consequences can make a game feel real to you and every other person in the game.

Meanwhile, Lukey calls the project “a piece of office art,” but seems interested in pursuing the idea further… even if he’s not ready to wear the thing himself.

This is obviously not a perfect system. I have plans for an anti-tamper mechanism that, like the NerveGear, will make it impossible to remove or destroy the headset. Even so, there are a huge variety of failures that can occur and kill the user at the wrong time. That’s why I haven’t worked out the balls to actually use it myself, and also why I’m convinced that, like in SAO, the final triggering should really be tied to a high-intelligence agent who can easily decide if conditions for termination are actually correct.

Really a piece of “art”, though Lukey tells Road to VR That the explosives and trigger mechanism on the headset actually workrather than merely conceptual.

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Although the idea is quite morbid at face value, Luckey argues that it is no different than the extreme consequences that underlie certain extreme sports. “This is an area of ​​video game mechanics that has never been explored, despite the long history of real-world sports revolving around similar stakes,” he writes.

Although this seems to be his first concrete step towards a headset that could kill the user, it is not the first time he has dealt with the idea of ​​a virtual reality game with real consequences for players.

Back in 2017 Luckey explained how he was drawn to the concept of tying his virtual mortality to their real mortality, saying that he was interested in building a game that imposes “serious consequences” (short of death, but still meaningful) on the User to ratchet up the stakes of the game.

The setting of [Sword Art Online] was ‘if you die in-game you also die in the real world’. The setting was obvious after the launch of SAO. This is a very extreme result. If a player makes the wrong decision he will have the result of his death. This is different from a normal game where you just shoot stuff, and it doesn’t matter when you die because you can just respawn countless times.

Immediately after hearing the concept of SAW I was drawn to it. Even now after several years I think about the concept of a game in which you have the same serious results in the real world as in the game world. It will cause a ‘real result’ that makes the game ‘real’. It is a game in which no mistake is allowed, you have to seriously think about everything.

There are several examples of hyper-niche games that have relatively serious consequences, viz lose / lose Which not only deletes itself from your computer when you lose, but also deletes random files on your computer every time you kill an enemy. There are also some hardcore ‘permadeath’ MMO players who have sworn to delete their characters if they die in-game, which could mean that hundreds if not thousands of hours of their lives will be wasted if they follow through on the promise.

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Although Lukey was gifted a miniature of himself wearing the clothes of Kirito, the hero of sword art online, One has to wonder if Kayaba Akihiko, the villain of the story, could have been equally appropriate… Luckey even uses a Picture of Akihiko as his Twitter avatar.



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