Virtual headsets are taking the tech world by storm. The biggest names in the industry, including Samsung, Google, and Microsoft made their VR headsets available in time for the 2016 holiday season. Even Apple is rumored to be developing a virtual or augmented reality headset to compete with its rivals.
To clarify, virtual reality headsets provide the user with computer generated images in a simulated 360-degree theater, while augmented reality headsets layer computer generated images over existing reality. You can read more about the differences from Consumers’ Research. Despite these differences, virtual and augmented reality have at least one thing in common – they don’t quite get along with the tangible reality.
Many virtual reality users sport their clunky headsets aboard trains and planes in order to alleviate travel anxiety. However, this reduced stress comes at the price of uncomfortable and even dangerous situations for fellow travelers. Many strange stories and viral videos have surfaced displaying virtual reality users disrupting the people around them as they interact with the world behind their glasses. On a Boston subway, Ryan Deame was filmed wearing a headset and battling fantastical characters while walking around. As a result of the video, Boston transit police advised passengers not to use these headsets aboard their trains.
Even within the confines of their homes, VR users have proven that poor control over the headsets can cause serious and expensive damage. While engaging in the VR experience, some users who weren’t aware of their surroundings cracked their TVs and other expensive household items.
Although extensive medical research has not been conducted, many people have voiced concerns about the health effects of VR. Those who believe that sitting too close to the TV or staring at a computer for too long can cause eye damage are sure to be frightened by the prospect of staring at a screen less than an inch away for hours on end.
Despite the funny reactions and videos of VR users who are consumed by the experience, the technology is likely to cause disruptions in public, in the home, and even in personal health. Consumers should always practice caution when interacting with this technology and recognize that donning these headsets is not yet a societal norm.
Read more from The Wall Street Journal.