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Novels like Ready Player One and Sword Art Online keep gaining popularity as VR technology grows. Both books feature full-body VR experiences when players are in virtual worlds, and it is something many players wish could be a reality. But will full-body VR like ‘Sword Art Online’ ever be possible?
Yes, full-body VR experiences will be possible in the future. Technological advances indicate that it may be possible to enjoy full body VR in the next 10-20 years. Some tech companies are trying to develop Haptic feedback suits while others are developing neuro-links.
The idea of enjoying full-body feedback while playing VR games is a reality many youngsters hope will be possible soon. I will explain how far full-body VR feedback tech is and what to expect in the future.
Will Full-Body VR Like “Sword Art Online” Ever Be Possible?
Yes. It will be possible to enjoy a full-body immersion VR experience soon. Some companies are currently working to make the idea a reality. Now, some feedback suits are available, but the technology is yet to offer a full-body experience.
Watching VR players in science-fiction movies get a full-body immersion in a game has made the idea of feedback technology for VR players popular.
There current full-body VR feedback technology doesn’t come close to what is described in “Sword Art Online” or other science fiction movies.
Is Full-Body VR Like “Sword Art Online” Available Now?
No. You can’t experience a full-body VR like “Sword Art Online,” otherwise known as a full dive VR. The full dive VR in “Sword Art Online” transports players to a virtual world where they are cut off from the physical world.
However, you can have an experience close to that in Ready Player One, whereby you can use a haptic feedback suit to improve your VR experience.
Haptic feedback suits transform your visual and sound VR experience into a full-body sensory experience.
How to Enjoy Full-Body VR through Haptic Suits
Haptic feedback suits offer a full-body VR experience by replicating the sensory stimulation that happens in VR. They have sensors that produce high-resolution vibrations that reproduce an avatar’s interactions with virtual objects to the player’s body.
The sensory stimulations can replicate wind, heat, cold, shock, and other vibration-based impacts.
Overall, haptic feedback suits combined with the visual and audio experience take VR experiences to the next level. It doesn’t achieve a dream-like state where the players feel like they are in the game, but it’s one step closer to full-body VR.
Haptics is one of the consumer feedback solutions available. The haptics includes wearables like vests, VR head cushions, and attachable devices for limbs like hands and feet.
The devices have vibrations motors to provide feedback to VR players.
Elon Musk of Tesla has developed a Teslasuit, a full-body suit that uses electro-therapy-based muscle stimulations. It is currently the best suit, and it comes with a steep price tag.
The Teslasuit has the potential of offering full-body VR experiences, as seen in the movie Ready Player One.
Will Full-Body VR Experiences Be Achievable With Brain Chips?
A full dive VR experience is associated with going to a virtual world and leaving the physical world when you enter the virtual world. There isn’t any technology that allows anyone to experience the virtual world.
The only way a full dive VR experience is achievable is through a brain-computer interface (BCI), and Elon Musk is currently working on one.
The BCI seeks to allow people to issue commands to computers using brain signals. A BCI chip will enable people to be transported into a virtual world, which feels like being a dream-like state.
Recent tests of the BCI functionality on a monkey show that it is viable.
However, you need to undergo a semi-invasive surgery to get the chip inserted into your brain. Most BCI chips are geared toward overcoming spinal injury, and it shows potential when it comes to full dive VR.
Whether it will be standard practice for individuals to undergo semi-invasive surgery to enjoy full dive VR is still unknown. Time will tell whether brain chips will become a standard accessory for full dive VR.
Challenges to Developing Full-Body VR Experience Electronics
A few challenges come with developing technology that lets people escape into a virtual world like the actors in The Matrix movie. A full dive VR experience requires biotech that allows people to stay in a lucid dream-like state for VR to feel real.
First, companies are years away from developing tech that transports our brains into virtual worlds. Researchers have to learn more about how humans experience reality and how to customize experiences depending on age, gender, and other factors.
Second, there are bioethical concerns on full dive VR gear safety. Some problems also involve how to monitor companies that will be profiting from biotechnology.
Finally, there are concerns that people will be addicted to full-dive VR because it offers an escape from real-world problems. Full-body VR like ‘Sword Art Online may attract new mental issues where people prefer to live in the virtual worlds instead of facing reality.
How Long Will Full-Body VR Experiences be a Reality?
It’s safe to say that a full-body VR experience won’t be a reality in the next decade because the technology isn’t available.
Also, VR is yet to catch up to the human imagination because human beings can create more imaginary worlds than VR offers right now.
Overall, I expect to see a full dive VR in 15-20 years. I believe that the world will have made the necessary technological leaps to make full dive VR a reality.
Also, there will be an advanced bioethical framework to govern biotech to allow full dive VR to be legal.
Will full-body VR like ‘Sword Art Online’ ever be possible? Yes, it will be possible in two or more decades. Haptic feedback suits and BCIs will be advanced enough to allow VR users to enjoy the virtual world without being aware of their physical surroundings.
Overall, the world is on the cusp of a revolution when it comes to VR technology, and I hope it’s going to be interesting to watch it.
Espen is the Director of PursuitMeta and has written extensively about Virtual Reality and VR Headsets for years. He is a consumer product expert and has personally tested VR Headsets for the last decade.