Gotta have wraith: Shadow of Mordor's spectral powers

Seldon Crisis: a space sandbox MMO that isn't EVE Online

IL-2 and Rise of Flight producer on making modern flight sims

The strange case of the Valve economist and the Virtual Reality contact lenses

Valve’s resident economist Yanis Varoufakis has told a very strange story. It involves an underground lab, virtual reality technology which is far beyond anything currently on the market, and aliens. And we can’t tell if he’s making it all up or not.

Writing in Greek paper Lifo, a paper not known for publishing fiction, Varoufakis writes of visiting an underground lab, the location of which he is forbidden from revealing, where he was able to wear a pair of virtual reality contact lenses. Read that again. Virtual reality contact lenses. Not a VR headset like the Oculus Rift

We’ve got a translation of the original article and I’ve copied in some extracts below.

Yanis begins by explaining the setup. “The technician made me sit in a chair that reminded me uncomfortably of a dentist’s chair, and asked me if I had ever worn contact lenses; I hadn’t. “It’s OK,” she said, “it’ll just take a minute or two for your eyes to adjust.” Indeed, after a few eye drops, my eyes adjusted to the transparent lenses and I almost forgot they were there.”

Once Varoufakis had the lenses in he says that he was handed a small box with a silver dial. Turning this dial increased the visibility of the image that was to be projected onto the lenses.

“The technician motioned and I started turning the dial. Suddenly, I saw him! He was eight feet tall, and stood out behind the technician. The first thing I noticed was his expressive red eyes and the scales he was covered in. Faint steam emanated from his nostrils. With slow, steady steps, he moved to the right, revealing all of himself from behind the technician, who was obviously having fun with my expression. As prepared as I was, the sight of the alien took my breath away. Even though I knew it was just a projection from the contact lenses onto my optical nerve, logic was having trouble defeating my instincts, which screamed at me to run toward the nearest exit.”

From Varoufakis’ description, it sounds as if the projection is particularly vivid. That’s something other augmented reality technology has struggled with, largely because once something unreal is placed over your vision of the real world the difference in quality causes it to stand out. Varoufakis doesn’t give any suggestion that what he saw was anything but seamless.

“Despite the fact I could see the technician moving him around with small adjustments to her console, his presence was absolutely real to me. His every step not only seemed, but sounded real (obviously, through stereoscopic speakers that gave the necessary depth to the sounds he made), his breath as well, even the sounds he made as he dragged his clawed hand against the wall, making my hair stand on end.”

Apparently, “the technician told [him] it’s going to take years before they get the necessary FDA approvals, in order to get the technology to market. The reason is that no one knows what impact such realistic presences might have to a person’s psyche, especially if they’re prone to schizophrenia.”

Now, my immediate reaction to all this is to guffaw. “Yeah, right.” Why would Varoufakis be present for this private demonstration and why would the NDA permit him to talk about this technology in general terms but not name the company, the device, or the place it is being developed? And that reasoning about the FDA just doesn’t ring true.

However, why would he write this piece at all if it were fiction? And why would Lifo publish it? Is it even possible to have VR technology working within a contact lens? The Oculus Rift is one of the closest examples to go with and there’s plenty of work to be done to bring the size of that down. 

Valve have written extensively on the limitations and requirements for VR and Augmented Reality in the past. Though, even Valve’s own specialist on the technology, Michael Abrash, doesn’t predict the sort of AR technology Varoufakis is describing as being possible for years to come. Abrash wrote a piece on the future of AR back in October last year where he doesn’t see the AR glasses of 2015 being able to “display virtual objects that appear to be part of the real world”. Instead, those glasses would be working with a Terminator-like HUDspace.

Maybe what Varoufakis is doing is painting a picture of the future for AR, a not too distant picture. But, if he isn’t and there is a company out there with this technology usable in their basement, well... shiiiiiiiitt. Or maybe we’ve just stumbled across the first stage of an elaborate ARG. Shit. 

What do you think?

Thanks to Michael Tegos for the translation and the tip.

Login or Register
0
+0
-0
avatar

That is bloody strange. Whatever the truth. I'm calling bullshit though. If this tech existed them it would have been on Kickstarter, right? RIGHT?

0
+0
-0
avatar
13

Man, this is indeed weird news. What the hell?

Alienware - Game VictoriousNvidia Shield - Titanfall
IL-2 and Rise of Flight producer on making modern flight sims thumbmail

Ilya Muromets

IL-2 and Rise of Flight producer on making modern flight sims

Gotta have wraith: Shadow of Mordor's spectral powers  thumnnail

Gotta have wraith: Shadow of Mordor's spectral powers

Seldon Crisis: a space sandbox MMO that isn't EVE Online thumnnail

Seldon Crisis: a space sandbox MMO that isn't EVE Online

Evolve alpha: three days of stalking begins tomorrow thumnnail

Evolve alpha: three days of stalking begins tomorrow

Gearbox attempts to get removed from Aliens: Colonial Marines class action lawsuit thumnnail

Gearbox attempts to get removed from Aliens: Colonial Marines class action lawsuit

Master Path of Exile in the free expansion, Forsaken Masters thumnnail

Master Path of Exile in the free expansion, Forsaken Masters

Pillars of Eternity preview:

Pillars of Eternity

Pillars of Eternity preview: "This is supposed to be the dream game for people who like Infinity Engine games"

Wildstar's 'Sabotage' update makes PvP super explosive, introduces bomb chucking fun thumnnail

Wildstar's 'Sabotage' update makes PvP super explosive, introduces bomb chucking fun

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn begins its free two-week trial thumnnail

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn begins its free two-week trial

F1 2014 is announced, features shiniest cars and wettest roads ever thumnnail

F1 2014 is announced, features shiniest cars and wettest roads ever

A time before Steam: an ode to the budget boxed PC game thumbmail

Mastertronic

A time before Steam: an ode to the budget boxed PC game

Mastertronic lay off staff, leave boxed games behind:

Mastertronic lay off staff, leave boxed games behind: "PC budget games now sold online"

The Sims 4 does anger, sadness, embarrassment: all the classics thumnnail

The Sims 4 does anger, sadness, embarrassment: all the classics

Minecraft snapshot 14w31a reworks the world border, adds noisier rabbits thumnnail

Minecraft snapshot 14w31a reworks the world border, adds noisier rabbits

Looking for love among the pigeons: Hatoful Boyfriend launches on August 21st thumnnail

Looking for love among the pigeons: Hatoful Boyfriend launches on August 21st

Hacker holiday: Watch Dogs leaves Chicago and visits Camden, New Jersey in new DLC thumnnail

Hacker holiday: Watch Dogs leaves Chicago and visits Camden, New Jersey in new DLC

Topic of the Week: What do you want from the new Mass Effect? thumbmail

Mass Effect 4

Topic of the Week: What do you want from the new Mass Effect?

Strange bedfellows: YouPorn has found an eSports team to sponsor thumnnail

Strange bedfellows: YouPorn has found an eSports team to sponsor

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has three collector's editions for you to choose from thumnnail

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has three collector's editions for you to choose from

World of Tanks 9.2 introduces clan strongholds and a new map for dastardly snipers  thumnnail

World of Tanks 9.2 introduces clan strongholds and a new map for dastardly snipers

Crytek sells Homefront: new studio, Deep Silver Dambuster, now developing Homefront: The Revolution  thumnnail

Crytek sells Homefront: new studio, Deep Silver Dambuster, now developing Homefront: The Revolution

Build a clinic in Minecraft and help build a real one in Liberia thumnnail

Build a clinic in Minecraft and help build a real one in Liberia