If you die in virtual reality, you really die. The absurd idea of ​​the inventor of the Oculus Rift

Palmer Luckey, the entrepreneur who founded Oculus VR and designed the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, has created an interpretation of NerveGear, the helmet used in the Japanese light novel Sword Art Online. As in the narrative world of Sword Art Online, Luckey’s NerveGear is able to kill the person who wears it if the character he plays in the game dies. Death occurs as a result of the explosion of three explosive charges installed on the front of the Meta Quest Pro viewer. An idea that only made sense to exist in the head of Luckey, who left Facebook, the owner of Oculus, in 2017.

Helmet “mortal reality”

In the narrative world of Sword Art Online, on November 6, 2022, NerveGear-wearing players are trapped by a scientist in a deadly game. If their hit points drop to zero, their brains are bombarded with very powerful microwaves capable of killing the user.

NerveGear sword art online

So, November 6 was not the date chosen at random by Luckey to present his version of NerveGear, but in honor of Sword Art Online, which over time has moved out of the confines of the light novel to become anime and manga and take the form of various video games.

But Luckey was unable to recreate the death of NerveGear’s microwave. in his blog He said he was very smart but he couldn’t find a way”To accomplish such a thing, it is not without connecting the headset with giant equipment“.

Instead of microwaves, he chose three explosive devices that he usually uses on another project he’s working on. He didn’t specify, but the explosives were likely from the defense technology company Anduril he founded in 2017 after leaving Facebook, likely. To fund a political group linked to Donald Trump.

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These three explosive charges are connected to a narrow-band optical sensor capable of recognizing a specific red frequency emitted by the screen. When a suitable game is displayed on the screen, and then has that specific red color, the graphic is instantly activated to destroy the user’s brainLoki says.

Because Luckey wanted to create her own NerveGear

Palmer Luckey is very related to the world of Sword Art Online because the fourth episode of the anime series that aired in Japan in 2012 just as the Oculus Rift DK1 Kickstarter campaign was launched, in order to link up with NerveGear for fiction sparked a huge interest especially in Sunrise.

Loki said he wanted to create something similar to NerveGear because “I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of ​​connecting your real life with your virtual avatar: you instantly raise the stakes to the highest level and force people to radically rethink the way they interact with the virtual world and the players within it.. “

Then he added:Huge graphics can make the game look more realistic, but only the threat of dire consequences can make you and all the other people playing it feel like a game. This is an area of ​​video game mechanics that has never been explored, despite the long history of real-life sports revolving around similar bets.. “

There have already been similar examples, but certainly not the player’s life is at stake. In 2001, there was a PainStation technical installation that kept tension high in pong players with sensations such as heat, punches, and light electric shocks. In the same year, the Tekken Torture Tournament was held, a tournament in which participants received small electric shocks at the points where their character was injured.

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And as passionate as I am about Sword Art Online, Loki said she still didn’t have the courage to try out her NerveGearalthough he plans to implement an anti-tamper system on the lethal helmet, “There are a whole lot of failures that can kill the user at the wrong time. “

Loki noted that the NerveGear device is “Just a piece of desktop art, a sobering reminder of the undiscovered paths of game design“However, the notion of questionable taste remains, which could have conveyed the same message without the premise of endangering people’s lives.

Update 11/8: The Palmer Luckey reference has been added to NerveGear as a desktop art piece.

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