We take a first look at Microsoft’s Project xCloud in action.
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Full immersion virtual reality
Computers are now sufficiently advanced and miniaturised that billions of them can be implanted within the brain. Advances in neuroscience, in parallel with these and other developments, have led to a new form of simulation known as full immersion virtual reality. By the end of this decade, it has been successfully demonstrated in a human volunteer.*
Though still in its early stages, and yet to become fully mainstream, this technology provides astounding realism and detail. Users now have the option of actually "being" in a game environment and experiencing its graphics, audio and other effects (e.g. tactile feedback) in a manner that is largely indistinguishable from the real world.
This breakthrough has been achieved through exponential trends in computing over the previous decades – including a billionfold improvement in processing power and price performance, combined with a 100,000-fold shrinkage of components and circuitry.*
For the first time, human brains are actually being merged with computer intelligence. Rather than viewing games on a screen, users can now experience the program from within their own nervous systems, as though it were an extension of their mind. A simple, minimally invasive procedure inserts nanobots (blood cell-sized devices) into their bodies. These microscopic machines are self-guided towards the neurons in their brain responsible for visual, auditory and other senses. Here, they remain in a dormant state, but in close proximity to the brain cells.
When the user wishes to experience a simulated reality, the nanobots immediately move into place, suppressing all of the inputs coming from the real senses and replacing them with signals corresponding to the virtual environment. If the user decides to move their limbs and muscles as they normally would, the nanobots again intercept these neurochemical signals – suppressing the "real world" limbs from moving, and instead causing their "virtual" limbs to move within the game. This means a user can be sitting in a fixed position, while experiencing a high degree of activity and movement.
full immersion virtual reality vr 2030 2030s future timeline
Although most people are wary of microscopic nanobots, they have been around in some form since the 2020s (eg. for medical purposes) with few, if any issues. Many years of testing and safety measures have gone into this latest generation. Detailed regulations are being formulated to cover any possible eventuality. For example, power cuts mean the nanobots will simply detach from neurons – automatically returning a user to the real world – while checks are constantly performed to ensure there is no danger of being "trapped" in a virtual environment.
Furthermore, the machines are not permanent and can be removed at any time if desired. In any case, it is practically impossible for them to damage nerve cells or cause any lasting damage, due to their small size and limited functionality. In the coming decades, many people come to accept them as a natural part of their bodies – just as bacteria and other small objects are part of their stomach, digestion and other internal processes.
Full immersion VR isn't just limited to games. With such huge creative scope, it can be used for a whole range of applications: from business to education, training, healthcare, engineering, design, media and entertainment.
Tourism is revolutionised, since people no longer have to travel great distances or spend large amounts of money to explore the sights and sounds of another location – they can simply go online. For this reason, a number of travel firms go bust in the 2040s, or else drastically alter their business models to account for this new medium.
full immersion virtual reality vr 2030 2030s
Of course, that’s not to say these online holidays are intrinsically better than the real thing. Although on a different scale of technical wizardry compared to graphics of earlier decades, they are still somewhat limited in their accuracy of towns and cities. At this stage, many of them lack sufficient AI, are often sparsely populated, and miss out vital details or subtle characteristics of foreign culture… things which make real-life travel such an enriching, worthwhile experience. Decades of refinement will be needed before VR is entirely convincing.
Nevertheless, this new phenomenon is so profound in its depth of interactivity – as well as sheer convenience, accessibility and ease of use – that it presents a serious threat to old-line travel agencies.
One way that the industry adapts to this is by offering more detailed, advanced and sophisticated holiday environments, for a fee. However, this becomes only a temporary solution, as certain users find a way to pirate these programs, which are then duplicated and shared online. The problem is exacerbated by groups collaborating to form their own free/open source programs, which combine the best elements from these and others, and are easy to customise by the casual user. In some cases, "hybrid" versions of holiday destinations are created which offer wholly new, surreal and dreamlike experiences. One such example might be a recreation of Manhattan with a tropical coastline, populated by characters from Star Wars.
Just as the Internet caused a shakeup in the music industry, the same phenomenon occurs in the travel industry. From the 2040s onwards there is a marked decline in air travel and overseas holiday bookings. The effects of climate change are also playing a part here. Growing numbers of people are choosing to stay at home, with most communication and interaction done online. The same is true of businesses in general – especially with regard to meetings and conferences, which are increasingly being held in virtual settings.
Engadget's comment on the phones and/or controllers having a wired connection to the internet is outright wrong, and I’m surprised to see a (somewhat) reputable electronic news source not ask a representative about it. It's been confirmed that the wires were to connect the phones to the controllers in order to avoid Bluetooth interference at a heavily populated conference. All of the servers were in San Francisco, as co firmed by many attendees and Phil Spencer himself.
Jeremiah Atkins December 1, 2019 at 6:06 am
Will you have to pay for it