My Inspiration For Virtual Worlds

Good evening,

Today, I’d like to share with you a little bit about why I decided to choose “Virtual Reality” as the topic for my project and subsequent presentation.  It all started a year ago when I first began to watch anime and found myself thoroughly enjoying a show called “Sword Art Online”.  The premise of SAO questions what would occur if you were to trap 10,000 people inside of a virtual world.

SAO     One of the main points of SAO is that technology has advanced sufficiently enough so that controlling your virtual avatar is done through mental signals alone.  The gamer wears a helmet that interrupts all the active signals from your brain to your body, routing them instead to the in-game character.  For the purpose of plot, this sensory interruption is exploited and molded to the purpose of forcing players to stay in the game.

Despite the macabre nature of immersive control over a virtual character, this show quickly became my favorite anime and piqued my interest in virtual reality to the point where I decided to make my project about such a phenomenon.  I mentioned a little bit in my project about EEG (electroencephalography).  Through the use of EEG’s, I wouldn’t doubt that we could find ways to move virtual objects around using only the signals from our brains.  While the “NerveGear” helmets in SAO completely override your manual movement, EEG would utilize more of a conscious thought type of control.

It would certainly be interesting to see how accurate EEG could become in terms of intently directing an object.  At the moment, EEG can enable a paralyzed person to move a cursor around a two dimensional screen, but moving a person around a three dimensional world is a whole different beast entirely.  While we do not yet have such a precise control system, I’d be very interested to see how integrated such an “extrasensory” directive could be assimilated into our subconscious life.  We don’t think about how we are walking because we’ve practiced for so long. I wonder if we might not be able to do the same thing regarding virtual control with an EEG type control device.

Food for thought,
Jacob Prescott

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