Thursday, May 11, 2006

What ever happened to virtual reality? I remember it being the biggest craze. All the videogames were going that way. There were places you could go to play virtual reality, instead of bowling (which kind of is a virtual reality in of itself). It was in, but at some point in time it went out. Or so I thought.

I recently read an interesting book called City of Golden Shadow (Otherland, Volume 1) by Tad Williams. I only suggest you read this if you are big into science fiction. If you are not go read some nice romance novel or something. Anyway, in this book the internet was completely virtual reality. They even had an online game similar to World of Warcraft, but it was completely virtual reality. I thought it was interesting; so, I decided to check out if anyone still is doing the whole virtual reality thing or if it completely went south.

People are actually still making this stuff, but it’s ridiculously expensive. Apparently Iowa State University recently announced an upgrade for their C6 virtual reality room (10x10x10 feet room). It’s costing them about $4 million dollars just to do the upgrade, but people are paying for it to do research and such.

There are whole online virtual communities like Second Life where people can have a virtual life when their bored of their own life I suppose. There is actually an ever going exchange rate for products in this virtual world. You use this money to buy houses or toys or services or whatever. One US dollar exchanges for about 250 Linden Dollars (the currency used in this world). Rates are based on supply and demand and fluctuate just like they do in our real market. Weird.

Virtual reality products are expensive, but their getting better and better. I found this website that was selling all sorts of this stuff. It seems virtual reality never left it just got quiet for a while.

The geeks are still out there making this stuff apparently, but I'm guess us poor geeks can't afford to play with it.

1 comment:

Tyler said...

That's interesting! Just last week I was talking to some co-workers and wondered the same thing, "What happened to virtual reality?". "Lawnmower Man" is still one of my favorite sci-fi shows.

I remember someplace in Salt Lake that you could blow $20 or $40 to put on some of those virtual reality goggles and gloves, but I don't think it's around anymore. I never tried it. I'm sure it's come a long way. If people are buying stuff with virtual reality money in a virtual world, then it must have.