The 21st century has seen a multitude of incredible technological advancements. We’ve seen vast improvements to existing devices like the telephone, increasingly sleeker models of TVs and personal computers, and hailed the rise of fully digital social platforms such as social media; to the extent where even social media and marketing in Malaysia has become a widespread phenomenon in and of itself (not to mention all the famous social marketing services Malaysia and best social media companies Malaysia in Kelana Jaya that have cropped up in response to it). But perhaps most awe-inspiring of all is something that has been gaining a lot of traction and discussion in recent years – the creation of VR.
VR, an abbreviation of the term ‘Virtual Reality’, has been increasingly entering mainstream conversation as of late outside your typical wacky sci-fi film. Despite it’s seemingly fantastical quality, advancements in technology have made VR seem like an increasingly real possibility; with gear like the Oculus Rift and other similar headsets providing an immersive gaming experience. But it’s important to know that current VR devices aren’t quite ‘true’ VR just yet – instead, headsets like the Oculus are only immersive insofar that they provide a 360 screen view into an alternate digital world. A true, ‘Full Dive’ VR experience, as most people call it, requires something else entirely – it requires that you actually enter a world as real as our own, that you can actually feel the things around you, that you are actually, truly, part of it’s environment rather than being a 360 outside observer.
In terms of a Full Dive VR experience, fictional shows like Ready Player One or even Sword Art Online come to mind. Far removed from the current state of VR in terms of VR headsets, these shows depict what a ‘Full Dive’ VR experience actually looks like – actually entering another world, equipped with the ability to fully feel and interact with it’s environment. It’s an incredible, almost fantastical feat of technology…but could it really be possible?
Currently, there are some blockades to the creation of a Full Dive VR experience:
The Strain On Computers
The computers we have today, while still impressive in their own right, simply do not possess the processing power required to generate a fully immersive digital world. Our current reality comprises an enormous bulk of experiences that we go through every second of every day; from temperature to smells to the texture of the things we touch. Therefore, to create a world that’s so similar to ours in terms of sensory, visual, and interactive information, a computer would have to process huge amounts of data very quickly and seamlessly, lest an error appear and shatter the immersion. As of right now, no computer in the world has the ability to handle the strain of all that information – but perhaps one day, if we manage to create a computer with a high enough processing ability, we might draw closer to a fully immersive VR world.
The Biological Feats Needed
When it comes to a Full Dive VR experience, it’s important to recognize that it’s not just technological science that is required – VR is also, at a fundamental level, entangled with a certain degree of biology. If we were to enter a world as real as our own, we need to be able to feel it – to touch surfaces, to distinguish smells, to taste the food we sample and to feel the earth crunch beneath our feet. In other words, a lot of what would make Full Dive VR possible is the sensory aspect of it – and that would require a quite a large degree of involvement from our sensory nervous system.
Currently, the sensory nervous system – and honestly the entire nervous system as a whole – is something that is not often tampered with. Responsible for connecting our brain to the literal rest of our body, the sensory nervous system allows us to actually feel the environment we exist in; from temperatures to textures to pain (hence it’s name: sensory). Therefore, to actually ‘feel’ a VR world as real as our own, astronomical feats in biology would have to be accomplished; such as the hooking of our complex and incredibly intricate nervous system to a technological device. Not to mention, if something goes wrong in the tinkering of our nervous system, we could very well lose the ability to feel certain things – or even contract some very unpleasant neurological disorders. With our current insufficient biological knowledge, the risks are simply not worth it.
Considering these factors, it’s pretty evident that we are still far off from a possible Full Dive VR experience. The technological and biological feats required are leagues above what we’re currently capable of, and the consequences of something going wrong are simply too high for us to consider. However, that doesn’t mean VR will remain a forever unreachable possibility – with technology and science advancing everyday, the day may come in which we finally unlock the secrets to a truly immersive, Full Dive VR world.