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This VR headset will kill you IRL if you die in the game

By AYIE LICSI Published Nov 08, 2022 7:48 pm

It's so easy to die in video games but luckily, your character springs back into life in just one second. But would you still play a game if the consequences start to become real—like if you actually die if your avatar does?

Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey has created a virtual reality (VR) headset that will end your life if you perish in the game. The way it works is the device is connected to three explosive charge modules that will detonate.

This "NerveGear" VR headset was made to commemorate the anime and video game Sword Art Online (SAO) where the protagonists Kirito and Asuna must fight their way through a 100-floor dungeon to escape a mad scientist.

In a blog post, Luckey further explained his contraption, detailing that he tied the bombs to a narrow-band photosensor that "can detect when the screen flashes red," the usual game over screen.

"When an appropriate game over screen is displayed, the [device] charges fire, instantly destroying the brain of the user," he wrote.

The now-defense contractor added that he created the killer headset because he was fascinated with the idea of "raising the stakes" of gameplay.

"The idea of tying your real life to your virtual avatar has always fascinated me—you instantly raise the stakes to the maximum level and force people to fundamentally rethink how they interact with the virtual world and the players inside it," he said. "Pumped up graphics might make a game look more real, but only the threat of serious consequences can make a game feel real to you and every other person in the game."

To make sure users won't tinker with the headset, Luckey said he has plans for an "anti-tamper" mechanism to make it impossible to remove or destroy the device.

"Even so, I have not worked up the balls to actually use it myself, and also why I am convinced that, like in SAO, the final triggering should really be tied to a high-intelligence agent that can readily determine if conditions for termination are actually correct," he continued.

For now, this killer VR headset remains a "piece of office art" and a "though-provoking reminder of unexplored avenues in game design."

Would you put on this headset and play?