Virtual Reality for Five Dollars a Day

Humans communicate with each other through voice inflection, timing, and gesture. “Those capabilities are hard-wired into humans,” Pausch explains. “You wouldn’t put up with a person who makes you learn how to type commands to him; why should you have to talk to computers that way? Ultimately, we’d like to be able to read facial expressions.”

But in the meanwhile, Pausch suggests, we have a lot to learn about the medium itself. “The first movies were made by Thomas Edison and other engineers — and those movies were really bad. In the same way, the field of virtual reality research is in its infancy. This is the first truly three-dimensional electronic medium, and we have absolutely no idea how to use it.” —Virtual Reality for Five Dollars a Day (University of Virginia Computer Science)

This is from a newsletter article I wrote as a employee of the U.Va. engineering school’s fund-raising foundation, in 1992. That quote about engineers being the first movie-makers has lodged deep in my brain.