We spent all of our childhood dreaming of it. Well, I did. And obviously Hiroki Sato did too. It took a few tries, and a few failures, but finally EtherDrop got it right, on a profound level. Sato designed EtherDrop to be fully immersive. In addition to the visor, EtherDrop has a unit that mounts to the back of the neck, intercepting motor signals from the brain and providing sensory information. In the drop-net, users see, hear, feel, smell, and taste through their avatars.
Of course, not everyone wants total immersion, so the sensory inputs and motor controls are all adjustable. It is even possible to access the drop-net using only the visor and a pair of haptic gloves, without the neck piece. There is also a low-cost version of the EtherDrop with just a visor and a handheld controller.
After logging in to the drop-net, the user enters a lobby where you can edit your avatar, or access games and software you’ve bought. Some things are free too! Most social networking communities have free and open access. I spend enough time being social in games that I don’t really feel the need to participate in VR social networking. My computer is fine for that.
Of course, the place where EtherDrop really shines is the VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game). Games give users a chance to be heroes, to work with friends and strangers to overcome obstacles in beautiful worlds, imagined by creative and dedicated designers. It’s here that the platform is most immersive and powerful. And I think VRMMOs truly make the world a better place.