Where’s My Helmet?

Having grown up in the 80s and through the 90s, I still feel aggrieved for not having a virtual reality helmet yet. I know there are headsets that you can plug into your PC and motion tracking devices like Kinect, but they don’t quite live up to the image that was pitched to me as a kid.

I was raised on films like Tron and Lawnmower Man, which depicted virtual digital worlds that could be stepped into. The Matrix went even further and suggested that we might already be inside the machine. That level of fantasy was always going to take more than a quad core processor and some clever software. However, what I expected to have by now was a VR helmet.

I played on an old Virtuality machine at a seaside arcade about 20 years ago. The helmet was heavy and the graphics could have been built out of Duplo Lego bricks. Despite that, it worked! The display was in stereoscopic 3D and despite its limitations, it was an immersive experience. 3D movies and TVs are more common now and Nintendo 3DS offers gaming with depth on-the-go. As good as they are though, none of them shut out the real world as well as a VR helmet would.

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