For all the enthusiasm about virtual reality, there are still plenty of unsolved challenges — technical issues, cultural worries, and questions about market fit and timing. The articles below tackle these issues and ask: Does today’s VR have what it takes to overcome these obstacles, or will it go the way of the VR boom and bust of of the 90s?

The Obscure Neuroscience Problem That’s Plaguing VR
Sarah Zhang|Wired

“Despite Virtual Reality’s recent renaissance, the technology still has some obvious problems. One, you look like a dumbass using it. Two, the stomach-churning mismatch between what you see and what you feel contributes to “virtual reality sickness.” But there’s another, less obvious flaw that could add to that off-kilter sensation: an eye-focusing problem called vergence-accommodation conflict. It’s only less obvious because, well, you rarely experience it outside of virtual reality.”

Legal Danger: What We Don’t Know About Virtual Reality Today Might Hurt Companies Tomorrow
Eric Johnson|Re/Code

“You might get sued in 10 years for something you didn’t know you were doing wrong this year. A key concern for the audience was cognitive effects, such as seizures, motion sickness or post-traumatic stress disorder that might be triggered by VR.”

Bing Gorton Talks About The Big Problem With Virtual Reality 
John Gaudiosi|Fortune

“Gordon believes the financial risk is that VR may be the highest cost ever per minute of making interactive entertainment because it’s a new and developing market and developers’ efficiency is about half the speed and the cost of creating content is twice as expensive. And given it might be a small, slowly developing market; the reward, or profits, may not be realized for quite some time.”

Moving Around Virtual Reality Is Still a Big Unsolved Problem 
Eric Johnson|Re/Code

“Try enough demos, though, and as with any emerging technology, the cracks will start to show. And the biggest crack right now is in user input — the buttons, pads or sensors that make VR as interactive as traditional videogames.”

Dueling Realities 
Ava Kofman|The Atlantic

“A lot of these digital miracles all come down to a common culprit: power,” said David Whittinghill, an assistant professor of computer graphics at Purdue who’s interested in developing for these devices. “How do you get the batteries to power these sort of video-records? How are you going to miniaturize it? How do you make it mobile and get it down to a weight that people can carry around?”


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Sveta writes about the intersection of biology and technology (and occasionally other things). She also enjoys long walks on the beach, being underwater and climbing rocks. You can follow her @svm118.

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