Facemask: The Next Gen monitor?

Matt Barton's picture

I just read an interesting article on Boing Boing about a "facemask [that] would let you escape reality by augmenting or replacing what you see, smell, and hear with sensory inputs of your own choosing. Although the linked website doesn't seem to want to pull up, there are pictures on Boing Boing and a blurb from the designer's website. Of course, we've seen ideas like this come and go, but I always stop a moment to contemplate the possibilities. What's unique here is that it actually mentions smells, and you'd be able to see the avatars of other people wearing these masks.

I suspect the whole thing is a gimmick to make us question the value of trying this hard to "escape reality," as if such a thing would ever be possible. I maintain that even the concept of "escaping reality" is dumb. The phrase is usually applied by outsiders who think you ought to be doing something more "constructive" or whatever type of activity they actually value from people like you. :) "Augmenting reality" makes more sense to me, and I can imagine lots of possibilities for a device that could detect real objects and people and virtually enhance one's experiences with them. I'm also tempted to think of those sci-fi movies where people strap on a pair of goggles that feed them all sorts of information and analysis about their environment.

Do you think we'll eventually have some sort of virtual reality device, or is all this just hopeless speculation? If these facemasks were on the market and working as advertised today, would you want one?


Joined: 10/25/2006

I don't like attaching things to my body (except clothes - no need to panic, people! ;-). For example I don't wear wristwatches, chains, rings and I'm really happy that I don't have to wear glasses. The only exception are sun glasses and I have rather light ones so the pressure on my nose isn't too aggravating.

As for augmented reality I'm all for it, but not for all uses. Using a head-up display for navigation is pretty cool for instance.
On the other hand I'm a satisfied with being a "video gamer" not somebody who wants a bodily experience with some holodeck variant. I like leaning back and having my monitor as the gateway to other worlds and manipulate it comfortably with my mouse or a gamepad. I don't really want total immersion: Too exhausting. ;-)

Maybe one thing I would be interested in is the tapping of the optical nerve like in the cyberpunk genre but I don't see that coming in the next 10 to 20 years - at least with high quality "video" * - and then I'll probably be too old for that

take care,

* = I know that they are already experimenting with lo-res black & white video for blind people.


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