Oculus founder Palmer Luckey created a VR headset that kills you if you die in-game

Oculus founder Palmer Luckey created a VR headset that kills you if you die in-game
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Image for the article titled Oculus founder Palmer Luckey has created a VR headset that will kill you if you die in-game

photo: Kevork Djansezian (Getty Images)

It is a old drip in many stupid sci-fi movies that involve virtual reality: you die in the game, you die in real life. In these movies, characters get trapped in a video game and have to play for their lives. If their avatar perishes, they die too.

Well, it seems someone actually turned this trope into reality. That means someone literally created a VR headset kills you when you lose a video game. fun right?

The creator isn’t just any old someone, it’s Palmer Luckey, the 30-year-old virtual reality prodigy, Defense contractorTrump card-financierand co-founder by Oculus, the VR company Facebook Bought in 2014 for a cool $3 billion.

Lucky dropped a blog entry on Sunday he explained his strange new headset – which he claims is mainly a “piece of office art” for now – and included a picture of it too.

For reference it looks like this:

Image for the article titled Oculus founder Palmer Luckey has created a VR headset that will kill you if you die in-game

photo: Palmer luck

Yes, this thing will actually end your life. More specifically, it is rigged with bombs so that your head will explode.

In his blog postLuckey explains how his deadly new device is supposed to work:

I took three of the explosive charge modules I usually use for another project and connected them to a narrow bandwidth photosensor that can detect when the screen is flashing red at a certain frequency, making game-over integration very easy on the part of the developer power . When an appropriate game-over screen is displayed, the charges will fire, instantly destroying the user’s brain.


In other words, Luckey basically brought the plot of the nerdy mid-2000s anime webcomic to life. Sword Art Online. In fact, Luckey says this comic was the main inspiration for his project. In the comic, characters carry a thing called “NerveGear” which is an “incredible device that perfectly recreates reality using a direct neural interface that is also capable of killing the user”. They will then be dropped brought into a Matrix-like world by a mad scientist and forced to endure a “game of death” where the stakes of the game are tied to their own mortality. For Luckey, this is an exciting idea:

The idea of ​​tying your real life to your virtual avatar has always intrigued me – you instantly up the ante to the max, forcing people to fundamentally rethink how they interact with the virtual world and the players in it. Pumped up graphics can make a game feel more real, but only the threat of dire consequences can make a game feel real to you and everyone else in the game.

Righttttt… well, tThat’s certainly an interesting idea, although some might argue that the joy of gaming actually comes from being able to experience death-defying scenarios and a notice make your head explode. Some people like to argue that.

Anyway, whether it’s a good idea or not, Luckey seems to have plans to make his fun new hat even more terrifying than it currently is by adding “anti-tampering” technology to it:

Of course, this is not a perfect system. I have plans for tamper protection which, like the NerveGear, will make it impossible to remove or destroy the headset.

So the ultimate goal here is to create a murder helmet that you literally can’t take off. Once it’s clipped to your noggin, the only two scenarios where you can remove it are A) one where you win the game, or B) one where your decapitated corpse is pulled out of a blood-covered pile of rubble through every unfortunate soul that happens to stumble by. That’s probably why Luckey hasn’t used the thing himself. He says:

… there are a variety of bugs that can appear and kill the user at the wrong time. Because of this, I haven’t bothered to actually use it myself, and I also believe that like SAO, the final trigger should really be tied to a highly intelligent agent that can easily determine whether the termination conditions are actually correct.

… At this point, it’s just a piece of office art, a thought-provoking reminder of uncharted avenues in game design.

Some will no doubt find this an exciting idea, while others (actually, let’s be honest, most people) will probably be put off from participating after reading the phrase “killing the user at the wrong time”. Unfortunately, I’m in the latter camp, although a dark cocktail of curiosity and glee will definitely keep me watching the progress of this project for the foreseeable future.

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