When you envision perfect virtual reality (VR), delivering experiences that are indistinguishable from the real world, there’s no better reference point than The Matrix. The Wachowski’s revolutionary 1999 sci-fi epic delivered a vision of true VR in which users accessed an entirely convincing rendition of the real world by plugging their own bodies into machines. As impressive as current VR technology is, it’s not even comparable to what was depicted here and, according to the creator of the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD), it may well never reach that level.
Palmer Luckey, the creator of the upcoming device, noted as much in a recent interview with Game Informer. Noting that some breakthroughs surrounding the tech were at least 10 years away, he explained that medical science plays as much of a role in solving VR as tech advances. “There’s nobody really pushing for the direct, neural implant, Matrix-style VR thing,” Luckey said. “It may never happen. We don’t know if it’s even possible yet. What we do know is possible is refining what we have now: the building blocks of audio, haptics, and visuals, to make something that can replicate many experiences perfectly.”
Oculus VR itself has a teamed dedicated to the long term study of advancing VR known as Oculus Research. Headed up by Chief Scientist Michael Abrash, the new division was announced back at the 2014 edition of the Oculus Connect developer conference, and reappeared the following year with an insightful talk into where VR needs to go in order to become truly convincing. Expect to see Oculus Research’s work integrated into later iterations of the Oculus Rift, though not necessarily those that will immediately follow next year’s first consumer edition.
VRFocus will continue to follow the latest advances with VR technology, reporting back with any further updates.