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The strange case of the Valve economist and the Virtual Reality contact lenses

March 14, 2013 | Telepresence Options


Story and Images by Tim Edwards / PC Games N

Valve's resident economist Yanis Varoufakis has told a very strange story. It involves an underground lab, virtual reality technology which is far beyond anything currently on the market, and aliens. And we can't tell if he's making it all up or not.

Writing in Greek paper Lifo, a paper not known for publishing fiction, Varoufakis writes of visiting an underground lab, the location of which he is forbidden from revealing, where he was able to wear a pair of virtual reality contact lenses. Read that again. Virtual reality contact lenses. Not a VR headset like the Oculus Rift.

We've got a translation of the original article and I've copied in some extracts below.

Yanis begins by explaining the setup. "The technician made me sit in a chair that reminded me uncomfortably of a dentist's chair, and asked me if I had ever worn contact lenses; I hadn't. "It's OK," she said, "it'll just take a minute or two for your eyes to adjust." Indeed, after a few eye drops, my eyes adjusted to the transparent lenses and I almost forgot they were there."

Once Varoufakis had the lenses in he says that he was handed a small box with a silver dial. Turning this dial increased the visibility of the image that was to be projected onto the lenses.

"The technician motioned and I started turning the dial. Suddenly, I saw him! He was eight feet tall, and stood out behind the technician. The first thing I noticed was his expressive red eyes and the scales he was covered in. Faint steam emanated from his nostrils. With slow, steady steps, he moved to the right, revealing all of himself from behind the technician, who was obviously having fun with my expression. As prepared as I was, the sight of the alien took my breath away. Even though I knew it was just a projection from the contact lenses onto my optical nerve, logic was having trouble defeating my instincts, which screamed at me to run toward the nearest exit."

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