The Future Of Reality
"You never change things by fighting existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." -Richard Buckminster Fuller
What is reality? What is real? Traditionally, dwelling on these thoughts can lead to some very severe consequences. The first, and most likely, being complete and utter insanity. The second being a philosophical discovery of mind bending and conscious altering proportions. The third being an also rather complete, "who gives a $@#&."
Regardless of your views on reality, the existential conundrum that occurs just by questioning it is one for the ages. I was recently led down this path upon discovering/being handed some new tech that will undoubtedly begin to push the boundaries or our understanding of what is real versus what is fantasy.
Forth Dimension Displays
For the last 20 years, Forth Dimension Displays has been developing compact micro displays that have been used in everything from training simulators to HUDs (Heads Up Displays) during complex surgery. Apparently bored with helping the service industry, they have turned their eyes toward the new king of entertainment....gaming.
While there is currently nothing in production by hardware developers, it is not for a lack of trying on FDD's part. I can't help but sympathize with the developers though, as developing this type of peripheral is extremely expensive. Add that expense to the already enormous cost of producing cutting-edge consoles for next year and you have a recipe for an understandable wariness of shiny new investments.
All that taken into consideration, hardware developers will need to take some serious steps to impress with the next generation. If they don't, they may find themselves face to face with the wrath of a culture equipped with a massive imagination and the expectation that each "next generation" should be ground breaking.
First and foremost, I must say the combination of the developer name Oculus and the prototype name Rift is brilliant. For a fan of science fiction wordsmithery like myself that is absolutely the bees knees, enough for me to pledge 10 bones to the cause.
Excellent naming and diminutive donations aside, Oculus has done some truly remarkable things with their Virtual Reality headset. Despite the consumer kit being a few years down the road, the Rift has the gaming and tech communities ablaze.
Touting 1280x800 resolution (640x800 per eye), 6 degrees of freedom at ultra low latency, and 110 degrees of diagonal field view coupled with 90 degree horizontal field of view, the Rift is unlike any other VR headset we have seen thus far. That's right, this isn't the Virtual Boy gamer guys and gals!
Personally, the Remee tears me in two. The opportunity to direct my dreams is far too enticing a proposition for my science fiction mind to ignore. On the other hand, the rational part of my mind says that we are not ready for this.
I have had my fair share of experience with lucid dreaming, most of it of the variety I would rather not experience again. Directing your dreams is all well and good, but there is a player present that you exert very little control over, the unconscious mind.
Fortunately, Remee isn't a lucid dreaming inducer, it is merely a tool for recognizing one once you are in it...a connection to "reality" if you will.
So, Virtual Reality displays, immersive gaming peripherals, and lucid dreaming aids. These tools of our bright new future rest heavily on my mind. As I mentioned above, the nerd in me is hopping with excitement, giddy as a geek in a gadget gallery should be. The other part of my mind knows that we aren't even close to ready for what these technologies represent.
We are a society that invests heavily in technologies and therapies that remove us from our perceived realities and we will soon have the ability to forge our own. We teeter on the precipice of control by a governing body already. What would control over reality, virtual or no, look like if we couldn't distinguish between the two?
"Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It's a way of understanding it." -Lloyd Alexander