Total Immersion?

I’m reading several books at the moment, mostly sci-fi including some classics. It always amazes me how writers try to predict the future and when you reach that future how it varies for their predictions. I’m reading “The Sleeper Awakes” by H.G. Wells, written in 1899 it predicted a future that we would consider with hindsight to be very conservative in terms of technology advancement, however I can see in those days the theories he was suggesting would have sounded utterly fantastic.

Anyhow where does this take me? well I was also reading recently the Otherland series of books by Tad Williams, which explores a world of total VR immersion and where virtual cities and inhabitants live out lives almost completely hooked up. I’m not a fan of his style of writing but the ideas he comes up with are great around the kinds of clustering and methods of interaction and VR indetity and immersion and the blurring of the boundary between virtual and ‘real’. Some of the themes are shared by others and the idea of being in VR of large periods of time and becoming unaware of this are not new…but now reality is getting closer to fantasy and Secondlife is an example where virtual communities, and the virtual world including gangsters et al are also encroaching on real life….the other day I read a story from the BBC which takes this a stage closer..the gaming headset that allows gamers to use thoughts to drive their gaming simulation. So how far are we away from the world described by Tad Williams? – I say about three years. That is assuming that I’m inhabiting reality and this isn’t just a another VR construct….that way madness lies!

About willwoods
I'm Head of Learning and Teaching Technologies in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University.

3 Responses to Total Immersion?

  1. I remember when I read Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy for the first time. That book totally and utterly blew my mind.

    Here are my predictions for the future: 1: We will have the option of genetically mapping our dna and finding out when our health will start to give out and we’ll die.
    2: We’ll be able to slightly modify our dna for better strength, speed, looks, etc.
    3: We’re going nuclear, as in, nuclear power. It will be the only power we can use soon.
    4: The “CD” will be a thing of the past. All entertainment will be sold over the internet / downloaded on to PC’s.

    That’s all I have.

  2. willwoods says:

    I agree with all except 3. I’ve been looking at the work being done on nanoelectronics and I think that we’ll soon be able to harness energy directly from natural energy sources in the environment. It sounds a bit sci-fi but scientists involved say it’s only between 7 and 11 years away.

  3. Ori Inbar says:

    Total Immersion made it to one of the top spots on “Top 10 augmented reality demos that will revolutionize video games”. You can find it at

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