Creator of Oculus Rift Built a VR Headset That Can Kill You for Real

Palmer Luckey, the creator of the original Oculus Rift headset, says he’s redesigned the VR headset so that it can actually kill the user. The provocative art project is inspired by anime Sword Art Online in which players trapped in VR die for real if they die in the virtual world.

Anime Sword Art Online, November 6th, 2022 is the day VRMMORPG is released and the same day players learn the dire circumstances of their situation. As the story progresses, those who joined the game are unaware that the NerveGear VR headset they are wearing will kill them in real life if they die in the virtual world. They will also die if someone tries to remove the headset from their real body.

Although there is a long history of anime based on virtual reality, Sword Art online became popular just as the Oculus Rift was starting to conquer its record-breaking 2012 Kickstarter.

Luckey, the creator of the Oculus Rift, talks about many people asking him if he knows about anime Sword Art Online at the time he launched his fledgling company, Oculus. Not only did Lucky know about the series, he’s become some kind of huge fan… the kind who would receive figurines of him and his wife dressed as the series’ main characters as a wedding present.

Thanks to Luckey’s unique VR pioneer, huge fan experience Sword Art Onlineand later founded a defense technology company, there could hardly be anyone more capable of doing what happened next…

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November 6, 2022 – on this important date Sword Art Online— Luckey claims to have created a headset capable of killing its wearer with three explosive charges that could be triggered if the player dies in VR.

Image of a headset – a modified Quest Pro – that Luckey says can kill its user | Image courtesy of Palmer Luckey

[…] I used three explosive charge modules that I normally use for another project, hooking them up to a narrowband photosensor that can detect when the screen flashes red at a certain frequency, making developer integration into the game very easy. . When the corresponding splash screen appears, the projectiles explode, instantly destroying the user’s brain.

Luckey believes that only such extreme stakes can create the greatest realism in VR.

The idea of ​​connecting your real life with your virtual avatar has always fascinated me – you immediately raise the stakes to the maximum level and force people to fundamentally rethink how they interact with the virtual world and the players in it. Improved graphics can make the game look more realistic, but only the threat of serious consequences can make the game feel real to you and everyone else in the game.

For now, Luckey is calling the project an “office art piece,” but seems interested in pursuing the idea … even if he’s not ready to wear the thing himself.

Of course, this system is not perfect. I have an anti-tampering plan that, like the NerveGear, will prevent the headphones from being removed or destroyed. Even so, there are a wide variety of glitches that can occur and kill a user at the wrong time. For this reason I have not worked to use it myself, and also for this reason I believe that, like SAO, the final trigger should really involve a high-intelligence agent who can easily determine if the conditions for termination are in place. actually correct.

A “piece of art” indeed, though Luckey says The Road to VR that explosives and a trigger mechanism on the headset actually worknot just conceptually.

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While the idea seems pretty morbid at face value, Luckey argues that it’s not unlike the extremes that underlie some extreme sports. “This is an area of ​​video game mechanics that has never been explored, despite the long history of real-world sports revolving around similar stakes,” he writes.

While this appears to be his first concrete step toward a headset that could kill the user, it’s not the first time he’s tackled the idea of ​​a virtual reality game with real-world consequences for gamers.

In 2017, Luke explained how he was attracted to the idea of ​​connecting a person’s virtual mortality with actual mortality, saying that he was interested in creating a game that imposes “serious consequences” on the user (for a short time, but still significant). increase game stakes.

Setting [Sword Art Online] was “If you die in the game, you die in the real world”. This setup became apparent immediately after the launch of the SAO. This is a very extreme result. If the player makes a wrong decision, he will die. It’s different from a normal game where you just shoot things and it doesn’t matter when you die because you can just respawn countless times.

Immediately after hearing the VK concept, I was hooked. Even now, several years later, I think about the concept of a game where you have as serious real-world outcomes as you do in the gaming world. This will produce a “real result” that makes the game “real”. It is a game where no mistake is allowed, everything has to be seriously thought out.

There are some examples of hyper-niche games that have relatively serious implications, e.g Lose/lose which not only deletes itself from your computer when you lose, but also deletes random files on your computer every time you kill an enemy. There are also some die-hard “permadeath” MMO players who have vowed to delete their characters if they die in-game, which can mean hundreds if not thousands of hours of their lives wasted if they keep their promise.

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Although Luki was given a miniature in his character Kirito’s clothes sword art online, one wonders if the story’s villain, Kayaba Akihiko, might have been just as fitting… Luckey even uses one picture of Akihiko as his Twitter avatar.


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