If you are longing for the day when virtual reality – you know, that fictitious virtual realm we have seen in movies like The Matrix, Tron, Lawnmower Man and more – become reality, then you'll have to wait for improvements in Internet latency. At least that is what Valve Software programmer Michael Abrash says in a new blog post.
"When it comes to VR and AR, latency is fundamental — if you don't have low enough latency, it's impossible to deliver good experiences, by which I mean virtual objects that your eyes and brain accept as real," writes Abrash.
Abrash goes on to say that latency matters because virtual objects "have to register as being in almost exactly the right position all the time." Any delay between what our brains expect and what the software and hardware can deliver could ruin the effect we would expect in a virtual world.
"If you ever thought that AR/VR was just a simple matter of showing an image on the inside of glasses or goggles," Abrash continues, "I hope that by this point in the blog it's become clear just how complex and subtle it is to present convincing virtual images — and we've only scratched the surface. Which is why, in the first post, I said we needed smart, experienced, creative hardware and software engineers who work well in teams and can manage themselves — maybe you? — and that hasn't changed."
You can read this fascinating discussion of virtual reality here. Ultimately it sound like those worlds we see in movies are still a ways off…