Bob Cooney does not need an introduction: he is a well-known global speaker and author as well as a VR expert with years of experience in the industry.
We were happy to meet Bob at the Open Innovations Conference where he gave an impressive lecture on VR, tested our platform, and answered a few of our questions. In this interview, you will learn a little more about Bob’s VR journey.
1. What was your first encounter with VR like?
My first encounter with VR was in 1991. I was in the laser tag business, and our customers found out about a product called Virtuality and showed it to us. One Virtuality game was called Dactyl Nightmare: it was a 2-person, player versus player game where you had to shoot across to the other person, and then a pterodactyl would fly over and pick you up and you would experience the fear of heights. After that, it would drop you and you would die. I saw the promise in it, but it was really slow: you turned your head and it would take several seconds for the VR environment to catch up. We saw that and said, “if you could combine VR with laser tag, that would be amazing.” Twenty-five years later I saw Zero Latency in Australia, and they had done that very thing. I said to myself, “Oh my God, I never thought I’d see it!” That moment was what got me back into VR after being out of it for about 10 years.
2. Will VR/AR eventually replace 2D screens?
Oh, absolutely. There is zero chance of that not happening. It’s just a question of when. I think that in the B2B environment it’s going to happen in the next 5–10 years without a doubt.
3. Is there anything that will never be possible to do in VR?
Eat food, but I think that’s it. I actually thought about this. I wrote a chapter in the book that I’m working on about what’s not going to be impacted or eliminated by VR. I think people will always want to go out to restaurants and eat food.
4. If you were preparing a survival kit for a VR developer, what would it include?
I would say some sort of psychedelic drug (laughs) to spark your imagination and allow you to think of things you might not otherwise think of. Of course, only where this is legal. Oculus Quest, probably, because it’s easy to carry. And a solar panel.
5. If you had the power and budget to do absolutely anything for the VR industry, what would you do?
I would create a platform for people to be virtually telepresent and to have really deep empathic conversations one-on-one. I think that’s the thing that we’re lacking on social media and in today’s disconnected society. I think that the ability to do that, to have this conversation in VR around the world, would absolutely eliminate all borders and all the geopolitical bullshit that is happening. We would just be human again, and we would be able to connect through real-time language translation.
Thank you, Bob, for sharing your expertise with us, and a special thank you for your positive feedback regarding our platform — your words of encouragement meant a lot to us!
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