Microsoft has predicted that in 10 years virtual reality will become so powerful and immersive that it will be able to take users on mind-bending, hallucinogenic trips.
Seventeen Microsoft Researchers took part in a spot of future-gazing by predicting what advancements in technology will be like across their fields in 2027. They described everything from AI becoming more advanced and human-like to autonomy giving rise to a new economy but the vision of VR offering an experience akin to acid-dropping was an eye-opener.
Mar Gonzalez Franco, a researcher at MSR NExT – Microsoft's commercial development unit working on interesting projects at Redmond – revealed that the key advance of VR in 2027 will "provide such rich multisensorial experiences that will be capable of producing hallucinations which blend or alter perceived reality".
"In contrast to current virtual reality systems that only stimulate visual and auditory senses, in the future the experience will expand to other sensory modalities including tactile with haptic devices," she added.
We're only just beginning to scratch the surface on the potential for virtual reality and while we're seeing innovative uses beginning to germinate in the fields of gaming, medicine and engineering there's every possibility users could swap high scores for getting high through drug-free, state-of-mind-skewing, VR.
Franco explains that this technology, for perhaps more productive purposes could allow humans in 2027 to "retrain, recalibrate and improve their perceptual systems".
While VR is relatively nascent in 2016, it has gone through a rapid transformation from final development stages to landing on consumers faces within a few short months. We're only just beginning to see the potential of VR and it's still fairly clunky. Give it another 10 years and it could become unrecognisable – just think about what mobile phones could do this time 10 years ago.