What happens when virtual reality catches up with reality? If you think that as a consequence, only more time is going to be wasted with gadgetry, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Back in the mid 1990’s at the Argonne National Lab, I was invited to see the CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment), a room large enough for a single person, with semitransparent walls, floor and ceiling that had stereo images projected onto them. Equipped with stereoscopic shutter glasses and a pressure-sensitive joystick, I had my first experience of virtual reality (VR), wrestling an enormous 3D molecule of some protein, mainly to stop it from going right through my body. My next contact with VR was at the headquarters of Silicon Graphics, in their Reality Center with a curved projection screen for what they called immersive visualization. And indeed, the out-of-body-experience in the cockpit of a fighter jet was immersive enough to give me motion sickness. And since then? Not much. For me and I guess for most people VR faded into the background towards the end of the nineties and was slapped with the labels of false promises and clunky and unaffordable technology.