Imagine being able to play video games with your brain. Not only to move characters around but to take a full dive into a virtual reality where you disconnect from the physical world and are actually in the game. Many people think that Elon Musk is on his way to creating a full dive VR system with his brain-microchip company, Neuralink.
Neuralink is a neurotechnology startup that the Tesla billionaire co-founded in 2016 to develop implantable BMI (brain-machine interface). Although Neuralink’s stated goal is to use the wireless microchip implants to treat various brain-related ailments like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and spinal cord injuries, many people see it as the closest thing to achieving a full dive VR system.
What is full dive VR?
If you ever watched the Matrix trilogy of movies, you’ll have an idea of what full dive VR is. The movies portray a future where humanity is trapped in a simulated reality called the Matrix. To enter the Matrix, the main characters are attached to BMI machines that enable them to disconnect from their current reality and enter into a different reality.
This is a loose interpretation of full dive VR. It’s a virtual reality experience where you disconnect from physical reality and fully “dive in” to the virtual world. The term "full dive VR" originated from the 2009 Japanese novel Sword Art Online, but the idea has been around for years.
Full dive VR is also portrayed in the 2018 movie Ready Player One—a tale where humans in the future escape the real world through a virtual reality simulation called OASIS.
Virtual reality is used daily in a number of industries. Real estate companies offer virtual tours of properties. Healthcare professionals use VR for surgeries and other procedures. Sports fans can watch their favorites sporting events with virtual reality.
There's even a full-body wearable VR suit, call the teslasuit (no relation to Musk’s Tesla electric vehicle company), that people can use to enter the virtual world of a video game and literally feel everything that's happening while in the game, like the vibration of the ground during an explosion.
A monkey used a Neuralink implant to play a video game.
Musk’s Neuralink might be the closest to turning full dive VR from a futuristic dream into reality. In February, Musk released a video of a monkey that could play videos with its mind after Neuralink put a computer chip in the monkey’s skull and connected it to its brain using tiny wires.
“We have a monkey with a wireless implant in their skull with tiny wires who can play video games with his mind,” Musk told listeners in a Clubhouse chatroom. “You can’t see where the implant is and he’s a happy monkey. We have the nicest monkey facilities in the world. We want them to play mind-Pong with each other.”