Too much of a good thing can make for a painful experience. Los Angeles-based filmmaker Derek Westerman found that out the hard way when he embarked on setting the Guinness World Record for the longest continuous VR session. Mashable recently shared the YouTube video chronicling Westerman's feat (above), and it's not easy to watch.
Westerman was joined by 3D Live creative director Damian Blaise and a team of producers as he strapped on an HTV Vive helmet to use Tilt Brush, a virtual reality painting app that lets you create art in the space around you with two controllers. Blaise warns Westerman that prolonged VR sessions could damage his eyes and even cause fatigue, vomiting, and seizures, but it doesn't deter him from his goal to set a world record.
The video shows Westerman's journey at different intervals as he struggles to keep painting through the night and into the next day, leaving the helmet on while someone feeds him pizza and water (his hands being occupied with the controllers), and taking pee breaks into a bucket. Around the 10-hour mark, Westerman reports that he doesn't feel well, but with 15 hours to go, he continues the self-inflicted punishment. In the end, the filmmaker successfully set the first record for the longest videogame marathon on a virtual reality game system. (There was no such existing Guinness record, Westerman notes at the outset.)
"My brain was sort of tricked to view the room itself as VR," he says of the moments after he removed the helmet. "It felt uncanny."
VR is still a fairly new technology, and the debate over its health effects is ongoing, but after watching this experiment, it's safe to say that 25-hour VR sessions are not the best way to experience it.
Banner image from YouTube