If you don't know much about Palmer Luckey, you would be forgiven. These days, Luckey, a 30-year-old filthy rich entrepreneur, runs Anduril Industries, which sells automatic drones and other equipment that militaries use to kill people. With this in mind, it should be no surprise that Luckey—who rose to prominence as the founder of Oculus VR and Oculus Rift, one of the first widely-recognized VR headsets that emerged during that latest wave of tech innovation which he sold to Mark Zuckerberg's Meta—says he's now developed a headset that will actually kill you if you die in a VR setting as simple as a video game, for example.
"The idea of tying your real life to your virtual avatar has always fascinated me," Luckey wrote this week in a lengthy blog post titled "If you die in the game, you die in real life." Posited Luckey, "You instantly raise the stakes to the maximum level and force people to fundamentally rethink how they interact with the virtual world and the players inside it."
Yeah, you think, Palmer? Imagine if people applied this much purpose and mindfulness to, say, addressing the world climate crisis, ending poverty, defeating disease. Anything really, but a major advancement in any one of these areas would be a modern marvel. But no. Instead, America's young and brightest talent is working on ways to bite the big one for real while playing Drop Dead, or one of the many other VR games on the market right now. Like Prince said, it's a sign of the times.
It's important to note the developed headset, in its current state, is just a machine of war, as Palmer admitted, he's been unable to "perfect VR half of the equation" just yet, but he's optimistic.
"St this point, it is just a piece of office art, a thought-provoking reminder of unexplored avenues in game design. It is also, as far as I know, the first non-fiction example of a VR device that can actually kill the user. It won't be the last."
Probably not. We're definitely all doomed, though. That is for sure. Oh, and if you want the fucking horrific details of how it'll kill you, have fun with the next paragraph.
"…I used three of the explosive charge modules I usually use for a different project, tying them to a narrow-band photosensor that can detect when the screen flashes red at a specific frequency, making game-over integration on the part of the developer very easy. When an appropriate game-over screen is displayed, the charges fire, instantly destroying the brain of the user."