Not Virtual Reality

For the last four years our lab has been equipped with much of the latest in Virtual Reality technology. To try many of our research experiences, people put on VR headsets and run VR software. So it would seem logical for me to talk about predominant VR practices when discussing our research, and then discuss how our work veers away from those practices.

Yet a friend who attended a talk I gave in Paris this past week pointed out to me the problem with this approach. She said it sounds as though we are setting ourselves up as a kind of alternative to predominant VR practices.

In fact, she said, we are not actually doing research in Virtual Reality, as that term is usually understood. We are doing research in future practices for reality itself.

Predominant VR practices focus almost entirely either on experiences for one person or on experiences shared by people who are remotely located from each other. Our research focuses almost entirely on experiences shared by people who are in the same physical room, perceiving each other in their actual locations.

So at the most fundamental level we aren’t actually researching “Virtual Reality” as that term is usually understood. Rather we are attempting to model what will, in the future, be the everyday ordinary reality for people who will still be moving around in the physical world with their physical bodies.

You might say that what we are researching is “Future Reality”. I agree with my friend that I really need to get that message across more clearly.

Fortunately our lab is called the “Future Reality Lab”. So that helps.

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