Telepresence and vision synchronization collide in a future where VR is about mutually beneficial possession
As history has shown time and again, the magic we’re allowed to attribute to the world is inversely proportional to the current state of our technology. As telepresence and vision synchronization in the VR space rises, for example, the topic of spiritual possession will no doubt lose some of its magical and supernatural association. In this way, virtual reality has the power to not only affect various industries, as covered in PSFK Labs’ Virtual Reality Debrief, but to let us take over the body of a willing participant.
Yifei Chai, Innovation Architect at UNIT9, and who specializes in the human and emotive factor of technology and Luxury Psychology, understands this resolutely. While visiting the PSFK offices, Chai informed us that work for UNIT9’s The Pretender Project came from his fascination with witchcraft and possession. Mirroring a similar mode of thinking is cyber illusionist Marco Tempest who has said, “Magic is about making possible today what science will make a reality tomorrow.”
The Pretender Project, in its simplest form, creates a seamless interaction between the user and controller. Through immersive haptic feedback—the first in the VR space—and use of an Oculus Rift, UNIT9 has a design in place for a coming world where muscle memory becomes a consumable commodity.
Just think of it: Tiger Woods, plugged in as a controller on one end, can have his world-class golf swing saved to a memory bank that can then be purchased by consumers and trailed through their end of this cross-barrier avatar system from the comfort of their den. Talent on the Woodsian level could be just an app purchase or download away.
Or, viewers of a live streaming cooking channel can have the chef manipulate their action so as to foster a learning style that isn’t so much hands-on as it is hands-owned.
Skirting the magical further, stroke sufferers or individuals who’ve lost limbs would be able to experience the world through the liberating release of someone else’s movements.
Vicarious living would no longer drive tabloid sales, or the unbridled passions of Little League parents everywhere, but a viable industry that would allow pay-per-use or subscription-based transference of other people’s lives. Celebrities could dole out sitcom-length cuttings of their lavish lifestyles (sex included for the right price) through first-person—scratch that, direct-person—viewership.
What may seem like magic now—even in a world overrun by information, data sets, and constant consumption and analysis of both—could very well make the transient leap into the commonplace before we can even assess the jump.
In effect, what looks like this today…
…may come to look much more like the very mythology it’s been weaning us from. Though the possessed will be nothing more than consumers with expendable income.
Following the launch of the Virtual Reality Debrief, the Oculus event and in the midst of the growing trend of face-tech, PSFK presents [Virtual] Reality Check, a weeklong spotlight on virtual reality and its form in the near future.
Pieces in the series include:
And a lookbook from VR’s leading figures:
The Virtual Reality Debrief explores how the immersive capabilities of VR are transforming industries and becoming a powerful tool for storytelling in Advertising, Travel, Retail & more. Grab it here.