March 21, 2023

Information Technology by cobuman

When Virtual Reality Controls my Brain. Is VR the future?

On December 6th, Oculus has released its long awaited “Touch” VR hand controllers, and after many bruised knuckles, a weird occurrence has been reported by numerous users on Reddit…

For those not familiar with the VR Technology; Oculus has developed two types of VR peripherals; Oculus Rift, which is a VR HMD (Head Mounted Display), and Oculus Touch (Virtual Reality Controllers).

If you take a closer look at picture below, you can see that Touch controllers are designed in such way that it provides the most realistic interaction with objects in VR; providing near perfect presentation of virtual hands, which feel like your own.

The controller object interaction is accomplished by implementation of capacitive sensors that can detect any finger separation in the real world, with amazing accuracy and response. In addition, Oculus Touch design is very ergonomic, in such a way that the controller naturally sits in your palm almost to a point where you do not feel its weight, which, by the way, is around eight* ounces (226grams). The positional tracking of the controllers in the 3d world is accomplished by using two infrared cameras that create a volume in which positional detection occurs; volume being how far cameras can see in the real world.

On Reddit you can find countless internet topics including the /r/Oculus subreddit that is visited by many fans and contributors alike. Being one of the regular visitors, I have noticed numerous cases of folks reporting hand to brain disconnect feelings that can persist throughout the day after using Touch. Sometimes this sensation is associated with how much time you spend in VR; but it also varies from person to person.

This phenomena has been reported even by users with previous experience of using VR controllers, namely HTC Vive users*, as reported here.  

Some people have mentioned that their hands no longer feel like their own, and others simply assume that VR hands persist in real world; attempting to pick up an object in the VR controller manner.

As one of the preorder customers who has received Oculus Touch, this occurrence has happened to me as well, in a lesser degree than others. Admittedly, I do not spend more than a couple of hours in VR and only on weekends because this new technology can be overwhelming, and honestly, the excitement would keep me from having a good night sleep…

For me, all of the social experience applications developed for VR seem too real, to a point where my brain takes those experiences as facts, which they are, but in a real world type of sense. For example, a real memory that happens in VR is comparative to Reality memory….

I am highly interested in all types of brain studies and VR definitely should be part of it. It is apparent to me that there is some kind of unusual brain interpretation caused by VR exposure. I do wonder if this type of technology leads to progressive research in how the brain functions or develops.

What is your favorite VR experience?