What is “Virtual Reality,” Anyway?
I admit I was intrigued but skeptical. For one thing, virtual reality technology, since its invention by my old friend Jaron Lanier in the early 1980’s has been way over-hyped. And it has been misused to describe things which aren’t really virtual reality. As defined by Lanier, virtual reality, which some people think of as being similar to an “LSD trip” is actually the opposite. Virtual reality is a way for users to engage more with the activity at hand, not escape from it. So, when I headed for the Bay Club in San Francisco to test out the Spark, I decided if this thing wasn’t engaging and wasn’t hella fun, it was probably a scam that some foolish venture capital firm had invested in because they were duped by the company’s silver-tongued founders (this has been known to happen!). Wow, was I in for a treat. Riding a Spark is like, well, riding a bicycle, only in some ways it is even better. After booting up the screen and selecting to take a 3.4 mile coastal run “past a peaceful farm