Exercising in VR, and More Thoughts on the Future

I wrote a while ago that I was toying with the idea of getting an Apple Vision Pro. In the end, I decided to pass, simply because it was just so expensive. (Though to be honest, reading some of the reviews and experiences people are having with it, I’m still bummed I don’t have one. It’s right up my alley.)

Thinking about it as much as I had, however, made me turn back to my Quest 2, which I’ve had for the last while, but hadn’t used recently. The main problem I had with it is that I would get motion sick when I used it for too long a time. With the latest VR developments, however, I’m more and more convinced this is going to be a standard in the future, and from what I read, if you get acclimated to VR, that motion sickness goes away.

It made sense, therefore, that I should try and see if I could get used to VR sooner rather than later. If it’s something I need to get used to sooner or later, I might as well go for sooner.

So I’ve been using the Quest some more the last week, and it does feel like the nausea is subsiding some. One of the things I’ve been doing a lot of, actually, is exercising. That might sound kind of strange, and it certainly feels strange to think of how stupid I probably look with the thing on while I’m exercising in an otherwise empty room, but the good news is that it doesn’t feel stupid at all while I’ve got the headset on, and I’m good at ignoring the “I feel stupid” instinct when I need to.

You would think that just swinging your arms around wouldn’t do much in terms of exercise, and if I were in really good shape, you’d probably be right. But I’m not in great shape, so it does much more for me than I thought it would. Not just playing Beat Saber for a half hour. I bought an actual exercise “game” (Les Mills), and it has you do a lot of moving around, punching, and crouching. Enough that just doing it for ten minutes left me pretty winded. (This is a good sign that I should be exercising more, I think.) The best thing going for it is that it doesn’t feel like exercise, and other than the VR headset, I don’t need any more equipment.

So far, I’ve done a half hour each day for the last week. That’s a pretty good start, for me, and makes me think I might have a chance of actually sticking with it some. (How to get Bryce to consistently exercise more: make it easy, make it fun, and make him think that it’s getting him ready for The Future.)

I know there are some who think I’m really out there on this train of thought, but I think we’re hitting a tipping point to VR/AR right now, and when it does tip, it’ll tip very quickly. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if five years from now people wearing headsets is a much more normalized thing. The big hangups right now are price (and that will come down as economies of scale kick in) and the inability of people to really interact in VR/AR easily. Even with the Apple Vision Pro, it’s not like you and another rich, AVP-owning friend could get together and hang out in the same room, looking at the same AR things one or the other of you stick up in the room.

However, picture this: you put up several cameras in a room. Enough so that all angles of the room are more or less covered. Everyone in the room is wearing an AR headset, and you’re on the other side of the world, also wearing one, in a room with the same camera set up. You could see and interact with other people in that room, and they could see and interact with you as if you were right there. The only thing you wouldn’t be able to do would be to share any physical objects. No touching. But if you had a set up where you had some sort of way to “walk” while you’re not moving, you’d be able to walk around the room, as well. (And this technology is also coming.)

In fact, the technology is almost out there that would make it so you could do this very thing, today. It would just be expensive. But the days of having physical space be one of the big things that keeps us apart are numbered, in my book.

It’s an exciting time to be alive.

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