Untethered Virtual Worlds

Key takeaways

  • Two major changes have occurred in the field of virtual reality over the past four years: eye tracking and active hand controllers. These changes allow a person to experience a virtual world as more concrete and real.
  • You can now enter untethered into a virtual world. There are numerous applications for this virtual reality and more are emerging almost daily.
  • Virtual reality allows users to experience things, meet people, go places that they might not be able to do otherwise.
  • One new and interesting application allows elderly people living in continuing care retirement communities to interact and engage with their children and grandchildren through a virtual world. Research shows this greatly increases happiness levels and feelings of well-being.
  • Virtual reality is here to stay and we’ll likely see many more innovative applications very soon.

I recently attended the Abundance 360 conference and virtual reality (VR) is one of the things we explored. You may have seen the movie, Ready Player One, which came out in early 2018. The movie follows a particular young man in the virtual world, doing many astounding things. He returns to this horrible life in what amounts to a vertical trailer park, for lack of a better way to put it. Hollywood has a way of playing those things out to get the maximum entertainment value from them.

Part of what’s going on in that movie is actually going on in the real world today. Two major changes have occurred in virtual reality, since I’ve tracked it over the last four years at this particular convention. First, there’s eye tracking. As you move your eyes around to look at different things, the virtual reality actually tracks it. But, the second one is the biggest change and it involves your hands. The controllers for your hands can now actually do many things, such as press buttons, shake hands, and other typical hand movements.

This year, I got to enter a virtual world untethered, meaning I had nothing attached to me other than what I wore on my head that allowed me to enter. While there, I met a lady from New York and a guy from Florida. I talked to them in person with their avatars right in front of me. It may sound a little freaky, but it’s also really cool.

I also saw a demonstration involving a class of fifth grade students and an Egyptologist. The students followed the Egyptologist (virtually) around Nefertiti’s tomb, while she explained the different artifacts and historical occurrences in a virtual classroom environment. Imagine a digitized Albert Einstein teaching your children, or your grandchildren, about physics in a virtual classroom where they could ask questions and interact with him.

There are numerous applications for it and more emerging almost daily. One of the best applications coming out right now helps elderly people living in continuing care retirement communities. Research shows that the level of happiness for these folks becomes elevated when playing cards as opposed to just hanging out by themselves. It rises even higher when they engage with others and watch television. Of course, happiness increases the most when they get visits from family members.

The researchers found that when these elderly folks enter a virtual reality world and visit with their children and grandchildren, also in the VR world, they achieve the same levels of happiness as they do with a face-to-face personal visit. That’s absolutely amazing. There are some really great things happening in the VR world and I’m sure we’ll see even more innovative applications coming up very soon. Until next time, enjoy.


Gary Klaben is in our Glenview, IL office and serves our clients who are now located all over the country.  He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, Wealth of Everything and co-author of The Business BattlefieldWhether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.

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