VR viewer kills its user in the event of a game over: the new invention of Luckey Palmer

Defense entrepreneur and father of modern virtual reality, Palmer has created a VR viewer that kills its user in the event of a game over . Luckey is well known as the founder of Oculus VR who, with his Oculus Rift, had to breathe new life into virtual reality. After the acquisition by Meta, however, the American shifted its attention to military applications. Palmer has in fact founded Anduril, a company that focuses on the production of self-driving drones and sensors for war purposes. But what prompted him to create such a dangerous VR headset for the user who wears it? And how does it work?

The inspiration for the VR headset

One famous Anime in particular seems to have influenced Palmer, it is Sword Art Online , as he specifies on his blog . In the show, the protagonists participate in a massively multiplayer role-playing game (Sword Art Online) that makes use of virtual reality . To be able to use it they wearing a helmet capable of stimulating the five senses connected directly to the brain , the NerveGear.

VR viewer

The problem arises when players find out the truth about the game, and it's not as fun as they thought. The creator of SAO, a mad scientist, imprisons them within the game's virtual reality, giving them only two chances to escape. They will be able to free themselves by passing all the levels or die from the electric shocks induced by NerveGear in case of game over or removal of the viewer.

Palmer acknowledged in his blog post that Sword Art Online's popularity has grown along with the Oculus Rift. Which made Japan the second largest market for the company. And it is no coincidence that he launched his helmet on November 6, the official opening date of Sword Art Online in the fictional game. In explaining the project he added:

The idea of ​​linking your real life to your virtual avatar has always fascinated me: it immediately raises the stakes to the highest level and forces people to radically rethink the way they interact with the virtual world and the players within it. .

Luckey Palmer

But what matters most to him seems to be the fullest involvement in the gaming experience. Indeed, as he writes, only the threat of serious consequences can make all the other people who participate in it feel a real game . Not just graphics that are as photorealistic as possible.

VR viewer

How Luckey Palmer's Viewer works

Sword Art Online's NerveGear kills players with a microwave emitter. According to the American entrepreneur, despite being quite intelligent, he was unable to exactly replicate the fictional device . So he opted for another route: connecting the device to gigantic pieces of equipment.

Luckey chose modular explosive charges by tying them to a narrowband photo sensor . This detects when the screen flashes red at a specific frequency. The developer's task will be to integrate the game over according to this frequency. Once the screen appears, the charges will detonate, killing the user instantly .

The creator of Oculus wrote that he wants to keep working. As in the anime, it has an anti-tampering mechanism planned that will make it impossible to remove or destroy the device. Furthermore, there is a huge variety of failures that could kill the user at the wrong time.

VR viewer

The proof … that there hasn't been yet

Palmer himself, given the possible accidents and unwanted unexpected events, has not yet personally tested his invention . To solve these problems, he advocates the use of an artificial intelligence advanced enough to decide when to kill and when not to. And here very delicate ethical aspects related to technology could arise , if the main intent of its creation were not enough.

As a final note, however, he adds that it may never be worn by anyone . And thus remain only "a stimulating reminder of unexplored paths in game design" despite the fact that he believes it will not be the last.

The article VR viewer kills its user in case of game over: the new invention of Luckey Palmer was written on: Tech CuE | Close-up Engineering .