THE SONIC BOOMER
As if I didn’t have enough trouble, my daughter came back from a business trip wearing “3-D virtual reality goggles.”
Let me explain. Last weekend, Toronto hosted Trend Hunter’s Future Festival, billed as “an exclusive event where the world’s top innovators prototype their future… an immersion of content, trend safaris and workshops.” And part of Jen’s “safari” was to experience the world of the future in three dimensions.
“But everything’s in 3-D without those goggles,” I whined, to what appeared to be a giant bug head wearing my daughter’s clothing.
“Not the future!” she said.
“Yes, even the future,” I sighed. “We’re just not there yet.”
“But don’t you want to see the future now?” she asked, whipping off the goggles and snapping them firmly into place on my head. “Look. Here’s a roller coaster of the future. Stare at the start lever until it moves.”
I stared at a wooden stick, the type of lever you’d expect to find in the 1940s, not the future. And then I was off! The rickety wooden roller coaster had sharp turns, vertical dips, missing tracks and no safety bar. I held onto the kitchen counter just in case, which made Jen laugh. (She was somewhere back in the past, with the kitchen.) The roller coaster dived underwater, but I didn’t get wet. It leapt over chasms where there were no tracks at all. It was quite a ride.
“OK, how’d you do it?” I asked, removing the bug head.
She flipped open one end and there was her smart phone. “I downloaded a roller coaster app,” she said. “There’s are museum apps, lots of travel apps, more ride apps — tons of stuff. You can go virtually anywhere. Virtually.”
I had to admit that the roller coaster ride had been fun. Later, I “walked around” a French museum, exploring the many different exhibits just as if I was there. I thought about how fabulous the rides would be for anyone who was paralyzed, how liberating the “travel” would be for a shut-in, and how different school was going to be for the bug-heads of the future.
“And these are innovations that are going to happen within three to five years!” she exclaimed.
Like any dinosaur, I rued the loss of face-to-face contact for those goggle-headed students of the near future, but how awesome to be able to learn in 3-D, at your own pace and in whatever format you chose. Shy? Take your tour without the group. ADD? This is the app for you… or this one… or this one.
Then Jen whipped a tiny drone out of her purse and sent it flying around the room as her three-year-old pointed and asked, “What is that, Mommy?”
We looked where he was looking, but none of us knew the answer — because he was wearing the goggles.
Ha! A flaw! I knew there was something bad about these goggles. No shared experiences! And when the drone accidentally buzzed his head, he jumped. Another flaw! No simultaneous contact with the outside world. He could walk into a well!
So, do I think the goggle idea will be scrapped? Not on your life. They are just too cool. And I want a pair.