The Dumbest Thing
Jak Wilmot, the co-founder of Atlanta-based VR content studioDisrupt VR, spent 168 consecutive hours in a VR headset — that’s a full week — pent up in his apartment.
“This is quite possibly the dumbest thing I’ve ever done, but welcome to a week in the future,” he said in a video about the experiment.
To make the experience even more futuristic, Wilmot livestreamed the entire week on Twitch late last month, later uploading a wrapup video on his entire week on YouTube.
The rules were simple: he could switch from a computer-based Oculus headset to a different, untethered headset for thirty seconds while his eyes were closed. His windows were blacked out, he said, so that his physical body didn’t have to rely on the daylight-dependent circadian rhythm.
His more mobile VR headset had a built in camera in the front, so that he was able to “see” his physical surroundings — but not directly with his own eyes.
“Everything is in the Headset”
Wilmot worked, ate and exercised inside virtual reality. Sleeping in the headset turned out to be “more comfortable” than Wilmot anticipated, though his eyes burned a bit.
“If one is feeling stressed, they can load into a natural environment for ten minutes and relax,” he said in the video. “If one is feeling energetic, they can dispel energy in a fitness game — these are like the new rules of the reality I’ve thrown myself in. Everything is in the headset.”
Wilmot believes that virtual reality is what you make it. If you want to be alone, you can spend time by yourself in a gaming session, slaying dragons in Skyrim VR. Or you can chose to join the cacophony of VRChat — a communal free-for-all multiplayer online platform that allows you to interact with avatars controlled by complete strangers.
“VR is stepping into the shoes of someone else, or stepping into a spaceship and talking to friends,” said Wilmot. “It’s very easy to find your tribe, to make friends, to communicate with others through a virtual landscape, where its no longer through digital window [like a monitor], but actually being there with them. To me that’s what VR is — connection.”
Escaping Virtual Reality
After seven days of living inside the headset, Wilmot took off the goggles and relearned what it’s like to live in the real world.