I think we’re talking slightly different things! Mind if I clarify a bit? I know the name might imply something else, but I tried to be clear in the text Please let me know if I can improve anywhere! :)
- Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality: I completely agree that the Oculus Rift as a concept has limitations, but the Microsoft Hololens is probably a better starting point for visualizing this. So don’t think ‘replacing your entire view’ (unless that technological bridge is breached), think ‘Enhancing what is already there.
- Physical and Tactile interfacing: First of all, the concept is firmly set in ‘exoskeleton designed to provide resistance along all the joints’ territory with a transitional phase that starts gong all the way across the shoulders. These aren’t necessarily unwieldy techs and I’ve worked enough with basic servos, fishing line muscle, and the like to know that most of the bulk of prototypes I’d worked with are related to a lack of refinement. Think of it more as ‘backwards exoskeleton (designed to provide resistance, not to supplement strength) made with haptic supplementation for precision’. It also helps to imagine there’d be multiple variants (just hands for some scenarios, upper body for others, etc.) each having convenience/feature-richness tradeoffs.
- Interacting with the world: When you combine the two above, we’re pretty much locked into ‘if you’re interacting with something that can push you back, it should be real’ territory. It’s augmented reality, not fully simulated.
- The primary purposes are economic, ecological, safety, and quality of life: This isn’t to create some virtual world somebody could get lost in and while it’d be good for games, the ones involving moving around would require a place that has the prerequisite physical objects. It could enhance the heck out of paintball or LARPing for example, but not allow you to do that from your own home. From a safety standpoint, as I mentioned, the keys are to allow somebody to see real things that they could not see otherwise or else to supplement weaknesses in our own biology (stabilize a surgeon’s hand when cutting, or ratio down his movement for precision for example. The economic bit is the biggie though, IMHO. This was designed with the intent to allow third-world individuals to have a first-world lifestyle without creating an economic and ecological disaster, and it feeds off of our economic decision making processes. Other than physical comfort and food and such, most of our purchases are things that could be supplemented (books, board games, playing pieces, big screen televisions, whiteboards, toys, most everything in a business environment, and so on). The concept is to get in front of those so that buying something that’s ecologically wasteful becomes an economic luxury. This applies even more to ‘future tech’. Why buy a fancy full-wall interactive video display and have it installed only to become quickly obsolete when you’re already wearing it?
As you mentioned, a LOT of approaches these days attempt to ignore the flaws in our own biology and/or the flaws that we’ve already encountered with technology. As long is the approach is on supplementation rather than replication and as long as the focus is on embracing what works well rather than what we know has issues (a primary design consideration) then it’s heading in a direction that’s compatible with reality.
Sure, it’s not exactly a ‘holodeck’, but honestly I think it’s a whole lot better…and it doesn’t require Star Trek level technology, just refinements of what we already have.
There is also one argument you didn’t hit…the fact that not every wants to wear glasses, much less some full body contraption no matter how svelte it can become. This is a real argument but the focus here is more on something for the children and those not of the first world. Lots of us wear glasses all day because that’s how we were raised, and the gloves to upper body to full body transition would be something that a less western crowd would likely take to more quickly. I’m sure we’d benefit too, but I consider appealing to Western adult audiences secondary to my target population.
That a bit better, sir? :)