The man who brought virtual reality back to mainstream attention claims to have created a headset that can kill you.
Palmer Luckey says the NerveGear device is designed so that if someone dies in-game or experiences them using it, they’ll die in real life too.
The 30-year-old sold his VR company Oculus to Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion, paving the way for the company to pivot to the technology and change its name to Meta, explaining that the concept “has been very fascinated [him] “.
“You instantly up the stakes to the highest level and force people to fundamentally rethink how they interact with virtual worlds and the players in them,” he wrote in a blog post.
“Enhanced graphics may make the game look more real, but only the threat of serious consequences can make the game feel real to you and everyone in it.”
What sounds like an out-of-the-box feature, Mr. Luckey said, is that the headset comes with three explosive modules that sit above the mask.
They can be programmed to trigger on death in a VR experience, “immediately destroying the user’s brain”.
“All sorts of glitches can happen”
Before you rush to Metaverse, the headset is now made purely as a display model.
Mr Luckey admits that in the current state, “all kinds of glitches can happen and kill users at the wrong time,” which is why he hasn’t tried it himself.
“At this point, it’s just a piece of office art,” he wrote.
Mr Luckey revealed that the headset was inspired by an anime called Sword Art Online, which featured a similar setup.
NerveGear is a solo project, and the entrepreneur has quit mainstream VR game development since leaving Oculus five years ago.
He has been a controversial figure since it was revealed he donated to a pro-Trump campaign before the 2016 presidential election, when some game developers suspended plans to support Oculus.
After he left Facebook in 2017, the company denied it was due to his political views.
He has since founded defense contractor Anduril Industries.