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The virtual reality hype train is starting to make me queasy

August 8, 2014 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by The Conversation

Anyone who subscribes to an online hi-tech gizmo newsfeed can't have failed to notice a certain preoccupation in the past couple of years on the part of developers to bring viewers close to the action of TV, films and computer games through virtual reality. Every other day, it seems, we hear of yet another allegedly ground-breaking solution in the quest for "immersion". The next person to claim to have invented a Star-Trek-like Holodeck is going to get a Vulcan neck pinch from me.

Frustratingly, this marketing hype actually seems to be working so well that virtually reality headsets, be they binocular, biocular, or monocular (such as Google's Glass), have become a "must have" item. Even in traditionally sceptical and risk-averse sectors such as defence, aerospace, energy and education, they are fast becoming de rigeur in training exercises.

Many other technology observers, from swooning journalists to corporate futurologists - a good too many of whom appear to believe everything they read or see online - are also fuelling the rush to invest in a holodeck.

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