This is going to be a very interesting post. I recently tried Virtual Reality, or VR, for the first time. And I’m not talking about one of those simple headsets that you attach your phone into – I’m talking about true VR – the system I tried was the HTC VIVE connected to a high powered, VR enabled Alienware computer.
There’s no other way I can say this: It blew my fucking mind. This was unlike anything I have ever experienced, and I can tell you right now – on February 27th, 2017 – that VR will revolutionize the world forever in 5-10 years. Here was a mini video of me trying it out:
I have to be honest with you when I say that this video doesn’t do it justice. What you’re seeing on that computer screen in the video is exactly what I was experiencing – I truly felt like I was in space, creating 3D drawings in real time (the program was called Tilt Brush).
What I experienced afterwards, however, was just as interesting as VR itself.
For the next hour after taking off the headset, I felt super out of it – almost like I was tripping on a psychedelic drug. I felt disassociated from reality, and even simple things – like using my phone and driving my car – felt dream like.
This sensation lasted for only an hour, but even the next day something felt off. Like really off. I started to wonder: What affect does VR have on your neurology? It didn’t make me feel paranoid, as they’ve found in studies it actually helps people who experience paranoia.
What I experienced, after doing some research, was Post-VR Sadness: A newly discovered phenomena where people feel extremely weird after using realistic VR.
The psychological condition, from a scientific standpoint, is called Depersonalization-derealization disorder, referred to as DPDR. This is where you feel extremely disconnected and disassociated from reality, which some people are experiencing after VR.
It’s starting to become more popular, as there is an entire reddit forum dedicated to it, where refer to it as the “VR Hangover.” What’s interesting is that people find the more you use VR, the less you experience the VR Hangover – after you grow your “VR Legs.”
It’s extremely interesting to see what’s going to happen in the future with VR, because from a technology stand-point, the goal is to make it seem exactly like reality. It’s only going to get more intense and real. When I was playing that drawing game, I actually believed I was in that area. Obviously I knew it was a game and it was a fake reality, but it’s so incredibly realistic sometimes you forget.
Now what’s even more interesting is the evolutionary implications. It’s no surprise that it takes our mind a long time to adapt, and evolution is slow. What VR is doing on a neurological level is interesting, just as the internet rewired us when it blew up years ago. Kids now are used to getting information at such a rapid rate that it’s completely rewiring the human mind forever, not to mention that VR is that plus steroids.
I think what’s even weirder about DPDR and the VR Hangover is that it’s more mental than physical. It’s common for some people to get nauseous after trying VR for the first time, and people are very vocal about that. When it comes to slightly losing touch with reality, that’s a hard one for people to talk about and even explain what’s happening.
What I can tell you, especially if you’re experiencing what I experienced, is that it’s extremely temporary. The feeling lasted only a couple days max, and even now as I’m writing this post, it’s funny in hindsight that I had such bizarre feelings.
It will be extremely interesting to see where VR evolves from here, as we are barely scratching the surface. The headset that I’m wearing in that video and blog picture will eventually look like this to us:
Whether you like it or not, whether it’s good or bad, there’s one thing that I can say with absolute certainty: VR is going to revolutionize the world.
Headsets are just the start. Soon we’ll have contact lenses that can reveal information to you, blended with actual reality. They will connect to your smartphone, be able to communicate with various devices, and more. Every industry, from the porn industry to the fitness industry is going to change forever.
Overall, as weird as it was, my VR Hangover could have been a good thing in hindsight. Just like when you first start drinking and have a horrible hangover the next day, you prepare for next time because you know what to expect. And in this case, I’m even more excited to explore what possibilities VR has to offer.