Are We Losing Reality?

How virtual should we be willing to go?
Graphic of Virtual Reality headset alongside article headline and byline
Graphic of Virtual Reality headset alongside article headline and byline

Over the years, humans have been losing their grasp on reality. Our species has become dependent on what isn’t physically there. Now, more than ever, we are seeing the powers of fictional and ‘mixed’ realities.

A fictional reality is a 3-dimensional space a person can access virtually through special lenses. These realities are shared with people all around the world. With fictional realities, people from different parts of the world can ‘physically’ interact with each other.

A more ‘on Earth’ reality is called mixed reality. Mixed reality is implementing nonphysical things into the world we see. Think of it as seeing a movie without a screen.

As of now, there are at least 50 different Virtual Reality (VR) headsets in production around the world. The most purchased VR headset has been the Meta Quest; made by the same company behind the Metaverse.

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Last June, at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, the company announced its newest product, the Apple Vision Pro. This would become Apple’s first mixed reality headset. It would be marked as “The Era of Spatial Computing” by Apple.

Preorders for the headset began January 19th of this year. However, deliveries for the headset begin on February 2nd.

These VR headsets work by using cameras and sensors to detect movement and the space around you. However, only the Apple Vision Pro has cameras for your eyes and face.

The Apple Vision Pro is the only headset on the market that has a screen in its front. Its purpose is to display your eyes as if there were no headset there.

Imagine using your eyes to select a movie you want to watch. Imagine pinching your fingers together to zoom in to a photo in the middle of your living room. That is mixed reality.

Multitasking: that is the headline; that is the purpose. The foundation for mixed reality was multitasking. Since it’s very beginning, it has always been about doing things, many things, like never before at the same time in any place.

“Personally, I wouldn’t walk around with goggles on my face. The idea is cool though. I would love to see a movie without a screen. If it is mixed reality, I don’t think we’re losing reality,” said 10th grader Briana Gomez.

Mixed Reality, thought very cool, is challenging. Challenging because of its limitations and barriers.

The amount of people who can experience the wonders of mixed reality is limited. Mainly because of price. Due to the recency of the technology used for mixed reality, it can be expensive to own equipment.

For example, the Apple Vision Pro starts at $3499 USD. To put that into perspective, the average instructor in Broward County makes less than that a month.

Though there are other less expensive mixed reality equipment such as the Meta Quest 3 or the VIVE XR Elite, for some consumers price isn’t a barrier.

Using such equipment for this unique experience requires mobility. In other words, being able to walk around, as most apps and games require the user to do so.

This is obviously an issue for people with certain disabilities. It is no secret that a person in a wheelchair will not have the same user experience as a person who isn’t.

It is clear the mixed reality isn’t as accessible as one might’ve thought. Whether it’s because of economic or physical barriers, mixed reality will most likely not be in the hands of many, at least yet.

Overall, mixed reality is still in its pioneering age, so it is hard to tell the dangers that come with it. However, don’t goggles that display movies right before your eyes, sound cool?

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