Oculus founder Palmer Luckey claims to have developed a virtual reality headset that can actually kill the user if their character dies in a video game.
Luckey shared a blog post on his personal website explaining a one of a kind VR headset that connects to three explosive charge modules above the screen aimed at the user’s forehead and will set off a microwave emitter destroying the player’s actual head should their character die in a game.
“The idea of tying your real life to your virtual avatar has always fascinated me – 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,” Luckey wrote. “Pumped up graphics might make a game look more real, but only the threat of serious consequences can make a game feel real to you and every other person in the game.
“This is an area of videogame mechanics that has never been explored, despite the long history of real-world sports revolving around similar stakes. The good news is that we are halfway to making a true NerveGear The bad news is that so far, I have only figured out the half that kills you. The perfect-VR half of the equation is still many years out.”
Luckey, who also founded the weapons and defense contractor Anduril, said the explosive charges on the headset have been used in “different projects” in the past, but didn’t say which in particular.
He added that the creator of the deadly device “was able to hide from his employees, regulators, and contract manufacturing partners. I am a pretty smart guy, but I couldn’t come up with any way to make anything like this work, not without attaching the headset to gigantic pieces of equipment.”
Luckey said the VR headset “is just a piece of office art, a thought-provoking reminder of unexplored avenues in game design,” and Vice reports it won’t be available to purchase.
“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,” Luckey wrote.