I don’t exist in VR

viveWhen we met in the Lava Lab, I had a chance to try out the Vive. Anna and Brian talked about how great the Vive was compared to the Oculus. So I put the headset on. Anna said, “Wait, you need to hold the controllers.” So I took the headset off, grabbed one controller in each hand, and I nudged the headset back over my head. Hold on, where are my hands?!

The image above shows what I initially saw. I have no hands!

I can’t see my hands in VR. This freaked me out. The controllers are there, I can move them, and they show where my fingers are pressing the touch controllers.

But I can’t see my hands!? I can’t see any of myself in VR.

The controllers are there in VR, but there is not a single trace of my physical body in VR. I get that it’s a virtual experience but this was shocking to me.

Contrasting VR to the Magic Leap technology of AR, I can’t help but feel like this is another way that the “humanity,” the humanness of a person, is not rendered in VR.

Only our actions are represented in VR. We are not.

I don’t exist in VR.

These serious considerations will come into play when are deciding how to use this technology and determining what to leverage going forward. I’ll be thinking about this experience for a long time. We are editing out humans in the realm of computers.

We have agency but we are only representations.

Author: David Neely

Professional Software Developer. Technology and Web Coordinator at the University of Hawaii's Manoa Career Center.