#130: Richard Skarbez on Immersion & Coherence being the two key components of Presence in Virtual Reality

richard-skarbezRichard Skarbez in a Ph.D. candidate at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who has been researching how to measure presence in VR. Mel Slater has proposed that there are two key components of having the sense of presence that he elaborated in a paper titled “Place Illusion and Plausibility Can Lead to Realistic Behaviour in Immersive Virtual Environments.”

Slater describes the two components of presence by saying:

“The first is ‘being there’, often called ‘presence’, the qualia of having a sensation of being in a real place. We call this Place Illusion (PI). Second, Plausibility Illusion (Psi) refers to the illusion that the scenario being depicted is actually occurring… when both PI and Psi occur, participants will respond realistically to the virtual reality.”

Richard had poster at IEEE VR where he wanted to try quantify the impact of each of these two components. Richard used the phrase “immersion” to describe the feeling of Place Illusion & being in another place, and “coherence” to describe the Plausibility Illusion.

In his research, Richard set out to research the impact of both immersion & coherence through a VR experience and then using the standard battery of presence surveys including ones by Slater, Usoh & Steed and Witmer & Singer, as well as a number of other physiological and behavioral metrics.

What he found is that the presence survey scores were the highest when both the sense of immersion and coherence were strong. If either of these were weak, or if both were weak, then the presence scores were low, and there was no real statistical difference between those results these three conditions. He is finding that both immersion and coherence need to be present in order for there to achieve a strong sense of presence.

He also suspects that coherence is a lot more fragile than immersion. Immersion can be handled through a lot of technical innovations like low-persistent screens, low-latency head tracking, and high frame rates. However, coherence is more like a mental model that almost needs to maintain 100% logic in it’s construction. As soon as there’s something that doesn’t quite feel right, fit in the scene, or if there’s some uncanny valley-like behaviors, then the sense of presence can be broken like a house of cards falling. Richard says that most breaks in presence are due to a break in coherence and that while you can recover from it, it does take time.

Achieving a consistent coherence has a lot of implications in terms of choosing the fidelity of your VR experience. Richard reiterates that the uncanny valley isn’t just a one-dimensional issue that applies to just avatars, it n-dimensional because it affects every aspect of the VR experience.

If you’re designing a VR experience and want to achieve a photorealistic look and feel, then you’re going to need to achieve just as high fidelity in the sound design, the social and behavioral interactions of people, and perhaps even haptics. You may be able to create an incredible sense of immersion, but to achieve true presence then you’ll have to make the entire experience coherent based upon the expectations that the user has based upon their previous interactions with that stimulus or environment. If it looks real, then it better feel and behave at the same level of that visual fidelity.

Richard cautions against going overboard on the visual fidelity while ignoring the overall coherence of the experience, and it may actually create a better VR experience to strive for 100% coherence in your environment rather than 100% immersion through the visuals alone.

Richard talks about this spectrum from low-fidelity to high-fidelity by looking at some of the old 8-bit and 16-bit video games. He says that a lot of those games still hold up because they were able to maintain that complete coherence and consistency of what we might expect for how these games would behave. He says that the history of video games started to tread into that awkward uncanny valley in the PS2 & PS3 game console era when 3D games were first coming around, but that they had a number of glitches or behaviors that would take you out of the experience.

There’s still a lot more research to be done in this area, but to me it really holds true that the combination of place illusion with immersion and plausibility illusion with coherence are the two key factors from some of my most immersive VR experiences.

Finally, Richard talks about what he sees as the potential for that virtual reality embodied telepresence may be something that may eventually replaces the telephone or video VoIP like Skype. He sees that once the technology gets to be good enough that we might even start to use it for serious meetings such as seeing a doctor or meeting with a lawyer within a VR environment. It’s got a ways to go to get there, but he sees it as a viable short-term goal for a really powerful and potent application of this immersive technology.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio

Subscribe to the Voices of VR podcast.

Rough Transcript

[00:00:05.452] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast.

[00:00:12.138] Richard Skarbez: So I am Rick Scarbez, a PhD candidate at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. And my research interest is in really in evaluating new ways of measuring experience in virtual environments. So Mel Slater, a couple of years ago, proposed that Instead of or in addition to just the concept of presence that we should go beyond that when we're talking about Virtual environments that it fails to capture everything that you want to capture in a virtual environment So he proposed place illusion, which is essentially the notion that most people think of when they think of presence It's am I in another place the place being represented by the sensory information that I'm receiving but that in addition to that we should consider really the behavior of characters and objects in the virtual environment as sort of a first-class citizen when we're considering how good a job we did. So it's not just do we have a good field of view, do we have the correct locomotion technique, do we have spatial sound, the sorts of things that people have generally considered when talking about presence in virtual environments. But we also need to look at, do the things that we're seeing behave correctly? So, for example, adding characters, adding virtual humans to a virtual environment doesn't necessarily make it better or make it have a higher feeling of presence because if they are misbehaving, behaving in an unnatural way that draws your attention, then that's actually likely to be worse for the user than just not having them there at all. So it's not just a matter of, you know, does the technology render fast and at a high resolution and with great sound and fine shaders. It's do the things that you're seeing make sense. Those are the two concepts that I'm kind of trying to tease apart to see if there's a way to distinguish the two and to decide whether one is more important than another in different applications.

[00:02:09.506] Kent Bye: Yeah, another way that I saw you kind of describing the plausibility illusion is coherence, in terms of is the whole scene coherent in a way. So maybe you could talk a bit about how you're parsing these out, maybe describing it, and how you're actually measuring it and testing it.

[00:02:23.540] Richard Skarbez: Great, so coherence is contrasted with immersion, which is another word that VR people use to mean many things related to different degrees to one another. But in Slater's viewpoint in talking about place illusion and plausibility illusion, immersion is defined as the sensory motor contingencies, the valid actions supported by the system. So that's purely characteristics of the hardware and software of the system. So what locomotion technique is supported? Is it fully head-tracked? You know, is it three-doff or six-doff? That sort of thing. So the actions in the real world that the user is allowed to perform. there did not exist sort of a similar term on the plausibility illusion side. So coherence is just a term that I've coined to be sort of the equivalent of plausibility illusion. So immersion doesn't equal place illusion, but immersion combined with how an individual user tries to use the system is what might give rise to place illusion. So similarly, coherence, which is the extent to which things behave in the way that you would expect them to, whether that's because you expect them to behave how they would in the real world, or you've been somehow primed or conditioned to expect things to behave in a certain way. For example, you know, the tricks that they use in Disney Imagineering. So while you're waiting in line, you see these events, you see these characters, you see this world modeled around you to put you in the right frame of mind to believe that when you see a dwarf, it's real. So you can do similar things in virtual environments. So by priming someone to expect, oh, you're wearing a jet pack, So if you try to jump in a virtual environment and you fly a hundred feet in the air if you were primed appropriately that might in fact enhance your feeling of sigh because I was told that I was wearing a jetpack and then when I tried to use it I jumped as if I'm wearing a jetpack so everything here makes sense and comes together as opposed to if you didn't have that priming and when you jumped you went a hundred feet in the air and you said there's some weird glitch in the physics. I don't believe what's happening here anymore because it doesn't make any sense. So that's how immersion and coherence are kind of duels that lead to place illusion and plausibility illusion, if I'm right and we're right. So what I've been trying to do is really throw all the metrics that we've used before in virtual environments at this as sort of an exploratory problem. So using, you know, an entire suite of the well-known presence questionnaires, so Whitmer-Singer and Slater-Uso-Steed and the virtual experience tests and just everything that I could think of and physiological metrics. So standard, you know, heart rate and heart rate variability, skin conductance, looking at some behavioral metrics. And, you know, frankly, what I've seen so far is not really an ability to tell them apart, frankly, as far as how people respond to place illusion versus plausibility illusion. So I'm intending to explore this further, but what I've seen so far seems to indicate that In terms of ending up in a questionnaire score, the user perceives it as sort of an overall goodness. Whether the failing is in the representation not being of a high quality or the failing is in behavior not being what is expected, either one results in a similar size drop in presence from when they're both good. So the one thing that I've seen in my results in an experiment that was presented here is the doctoral consortium and I expect will be at least referred to in the proceedings from the IEEE VR conference. is that when both immersion and coherence are high, you get a significantly higher presence questionnaire score than in either of the other three conditions. So if either immersion or coherence are low, or if they're both low, those are all not significantly different from one another. So you see essentially the same scores if any of the two are low or if both of them are low. It's only when they're both good that you see a significantly improved presence score. So it seems, you know, I don't know this for sure yet, this is still ongoing research, but it seems to indicate that the user in Fooling Out of a Presence questionnaire score is really getting a gestalt experience. If everything is good, then they're going to receive it as good. But if there's anything that they can kind of latch on in their mind, that they can identify as that was weird, that was unexpected, that was wrong, then that sort of kills it. Whether it's one thing that's bad or everything that's bad. as soon as your mind kind of can grab on to something that you can remember after the fact and say, that was weird, I didn't like that, then that causes a decrease in your presence scores. So I suspect that that may indicate as perhaps a tip for people developing virtual environments or doing experiments. It's better, I suspect, to have an impoverished virtual environment that you can guarantee will behave properly all the time than something that has all the bells and whistles and all the features with the risk of it perhaps not behaving properly. So if you look at something like a physics engine, You know, if you put in a full physics solution in your environment, you might suspect that that would be more realistic because, you know, now I can throw things and drop things and they'll behave properly. But then you also add the possibility of having, you know, bizarre Half-life to physics things where you throw something and it hits at a weird angle and Rockets off at a thousand miles an hour because your physics solution isn't going to be right a hundred percent of the time so depending on what your application is you may be better served with a less realistic virtual environment, perhaps with no physics solution or a very sort of crude ad hoc physics solution that you can guarantee will behave in a reasonable fashion, versus adding something that attempts to do everything, but introduces the possibility of dramatic and noticeable failures. Because that's what it seems to me that a user will really hook onto in the environment.

[00:08:52.846] Kent Bye: Yeah, and what I've learned here at the IEEE VR conference is that not only is there an uncanny valley effect within the sense of realistic avatars, but it goes into locomotion and probably many other dimensions of the spectrum from low fidelity, middle fidelity, and high fidelity, is that going from low fidelity, there's a drop-off that when you start to get in the middle, that if you start to go and improve from the expectations of what people have from low, then it starts to drop off when you're in this sort of like weird uncanny valley middle area of the moderate fidelity so that if you start to move in that direction either you should go all the way up to extremely high fidelity or if you're just lingering there in the middle it's probably better off to kind of back off and go back to lower fidelity is what I kind of hear you saying in some sense.

[00:09:38.904] Richard Skarbez: Yes, absolutely. And you can look at that, you know, it's not a direct analogy, but just look at the history of, you know, video games over the last 20 years or so. Generally speaking, and I'm not going to try to speak for the entire world, you know, games from the 8-bit and the 16-bit generation generally hold up because there's no expectation of realism. Everything is reduced and simplified because that was all that we had the ability to do. Then you go to, you know, for example, the PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 generations where we had disk space, so we can try to do more ambitious things, try to do 3D representations, and it ends up sort of not looking as good and not feeling right because we were kind of pushing into that middle ground where we were moving beyond something that we could perceive as purely symbolic like Mario Brothers or something like that, you know. Mario doesn't look real, he doesn't behave real, but we had the technology to make it consistent. It looks the same every time, he behaves the same way every time, but when you get into the early days of 3D engines, you had all sorts of bizarre behaviors because the technology just wasn't up to snuff yet, where you can clip into a wall or have some bizarre physics thing where you go flying off into space. But then, as we go into the last two generations of hardware, we're sort of climbing back up out of that pit a little bit, out of that uncanny valley of behavior, because our solutions are more robust, and you see virtual characters and avatars that actually do get pretty close to what you might see in the real world or what you might expect from the real world as opposed to I mean the canonical example for me is like something like Final Fantasy 7 which was hugely popular but it exists in kind of a weird middle ground of not at all being close to reality but kind of reaching in that direction, and it ends up in a very weird place for me. So, that's just an analogy to kind of the same thing in VR. Ideally, you're better off matching kind of a low-fidelity appearance with perhaps a low-fidelity or a more consistent, at least, behavior than trying to push one aspect at a time. You know, if you had Super Mario Bros. graphics, But with Mario being voice acted by a real person and having, you know, wants and desires and feelings and complex character motivations, that's gonna feel really strange, I would imagine. And obviously that's an exaggerated example, but that's the sort of thing that you need to look out. The Uncanny Valley isn't just one-dimensional as it was sort of originally proposed with Appearance. It's everything. It's N-dimensional because you can have a high-fidelity visual representation but perhaps a very low-fidelity social interaction. You try to talk to a character and he doesn't respond. That's going to be very disturbing and it's going to be even more disturbing if everything else in the environment seems exactly like the real world. You can have, you know, a photon-mapped, laser-scanned representation of a real environment. We have the ability to render things at a very high rate these days. So when a user sees that, they're prompted by how real the representation is to think that this will work like the real world. And when he is exposed to a stimulus that forcibly removes him from that idea to say, oh, wait a minute, this is not the real world. this person doesn't behave like a person, that's going to be very shocking and very disturbing and draw them out of that experience. Where maybe if you had started with a more impoverished visual sensory representation, you could get away, so to speak, with worse behavior of characters in the environment.

[00:13:36.846] Kent Bye: Yeah, and I sort of personally experienced this place illusion versus possibility illusion in the realm of consumer VR by experiencing the Crescent Bay demo and then doing the STEM Sixth Sense demo, where in the situation of the Crescent Bay, even at Oculus Connect and at GDC, it was extremely high fidelity. The graphics looked so real, like more real than it ever felt but yet I had had a taste of having the plausibility illusion with the stem controller so being able to actually see my limbs tracked and you know have guns and it was like more low fidelity but I felt like my mind was tricked and being more present and then they also did the lightsaber demo where I was like having laser shot at me and there's like small feedback in the in the controller and it was like hitting my Lasers and I was actually feeling it and my body felt like I was in the scene and then from that I went to go do the Crescent Bay again and Wasn't nearly as immersive. And so, you know, I had a discussion with Sebastian Koontz who's you know written on his blog about Mel Slater's research of the place illusion and plausibility illusion and so I had kind of known that there was you know these two components and I had sort of connected that even though you can make the scene look really super realistic if you don't have a sense of agency or control or that if your character is not able to impact their will onto the environment and have it react like in a real world that in the absence of that you're only doing half of the presence equation of just the place illusion without the possibility illusion and so At GDC this year when the Valve and HTC came out with the Vive and they had the Lighthouse controllers that were doing very precise controlling of the limbs, I think it was for the first time a lot of journalists within the VR community had experienced both the place illusion and the plausibility illusion. their kind of characterizations of this is like, wow, this is like the next level of VR and presence. And so, yeah, once I've sort of felt that ability to be in a VR world and have that possibility, once you go back to just doing the place illusion, to me it does really only feel like kind of like half the equation.

[00:15:38.457] Richard Skarbez: Yeah, I absolutely agree because plausibility illusion I think is, and this is me speaking more metaphorically than anything that I've seen in hard data that I can quantify, but my feeling is that it's much more powerful and much more fragile. You can get very interested, very involved in an environment that is very low fidelity if you're made to believe that things make sense and that what you do matters. Again, going back to Atari or 8-bit video game days, people would play for hours and days and become hugely engrossed just because they were involved and the behavior was very consistent and that I know that when I push this button, this will happen and if something goes wrong, it's my fault. Because I trust that the system and the software will do what it's supposed to do. But at the same time, it is very easy to break that illusion of your being in control, being in a story that makes sense. Because as soon as you run into, you know, you can have an entire room of virtual characters. You can have a hundred virtual characters, ninety-nine of whom behave indistinguishably from a real character. Not saying that we can do that yet, but imagine that environment. As soon as you talk to the one character who just glitches out and walks into a wall when you try to talk to them, you will instantly be reminded that this is a video game, that this is not real, that you can no longer trust the behavior in this environment, and that's really gonna suck you back out. Whereas, like you were saying, having the ability of, I can move and the system knows that I'm moving and it gives me feedback of the things that I touch and the things that I see and I am interacting with this lightsaber and I am in control of it. That is hugely powerful. That is much, much, much more powerful than just having a pretty high-resolution picture to move around in. That feeling of agency, that feeling of being involved is so strong. We want to be in a story that makes sense. That's what people are here for. And focusing purely on the sensory representation, I think over time many of us in VR have kind of forgotten that that's what matters. We focused on doing pretty pictures, and I don't mean to be derogatory, for a long time the technology wasn't good enough at all. So we needed to improve the hardware, we needed to improve the graphics and the latency and the rendering speed in order to have enough to do something interesting. I would argue that now we have enough, And it's time to sort of put more focus and more attention on getting back to why are we building these systems? What are we hoping to accomplish with them? And in order to do that, look to the story, look to the involvement. So give the user a reason to want to be in your environment. And you can do that, you know, like I said, it's very fragile, but it's just a matter of sort of paying attention. You don't need to invest $10 million in hiring modelers and doing lighting solutions. You can do it just by making sure that everything you do, you do well. and that's going to be enough a lot of the time. Obviously not for everything, I'm not trying to speak for every virtual environment, but to go back to creating a coherent world will make the world more immersive in the common sense, not necessarily the technical Mel Slater definition of illusion. They're both important, you need both, but I feel that as a field we've neglected the coherence side of the equation in order to focus on the immersion side of the equation. And having both results in an exponentially higher quality of experience.

[00:19:31.517] Kent Bye: Yeah, and you kind of alluded to it a little bit in terms of, you know, breaking that sense of presence. And, you know, it's been described before by Brendan Irby as kind of like a house of cards that once you sort of break presence, then it's hard to kind of build up again. And what have you found in terms of looking at, you know, either breaks in the sense of immersion or breaks in the sense of presence and how quickly one can recover from once that is broken?

[00:19:57.440] Richard Skarbez: That's an excellent question. I definitely agree with that House of Cards analogy. I think the thing to think of with Breaks in Presence, I think that it is very rare to see sort of breaks in place illusion or breaks in immersion, because generally the immersive characteristics of a system don't change substantially once you're in it. And furthermore, we have the ability to get used to almost anything. So if it's a very low field of view system that you're in, You might not like it at first, but you'll get used to it. That's the rules of the system, and you'll get used to the rules, whatever they are. Generally speaking, when you have something that breaks you out of it, I would argue that that is nine times out of ten at least going to be a break in plausibility because you've seen a behavior in the environment that is not something that you could expect or predict. A character doesn't behave properly, a physics-controlled object doesn't behave properly, or maybe even something as simple as if a scenario is supposed to be representing a real place or a real situation, and it does something wrong. If the scenario is supposed to be set in Paris and there are American flags on the flagpoles, you know, that's not really something that falls into immersion. They might be beautifully rendered American flags with a fantastic wind solution to set them flowing in the air, but as the moment you see them, you're going to think, wait a minute, I was supposed to be in Paris. Why are there American flags here? this is confusing and wrong, and maybe there's an explanation for it that will ultimately enable you to justify it and come back into that experience. But, you know, as designers, as developers, what causes breaks in presence, which I would argue are most of the time breaks in plausibility, It comes back to the fact that the entire suite of stimuli that you're giving a user is not coherent. There's something that sticks out like a sore thumb, and a user's attention will always be drawn to that. You can do 99% of things right and 1% of things wrong, and they will notice the 1% of things that's wrong. And it makes our job very hard and sometimes very frustrating, but it's true. So just to be aware as best you can that you can recover. I believe, especially if it's a statistical sort of process. So if there's one thing wrong, if you give them enough time afterward without anything else being wrong, they might forget that something was wrong and distracting to them and get back into the world. Or if something happened once but works correctly the next time, they might be able to forgive it just as sort of a one-time thing. But once you don't believe in the truth of a character, it is very hard to sort of bring you back on board with that character. You may be able to get their presence, their immersion, their investment back by moving them on to something else that they have a fresh set of eyes on. But, you know, if they're interacting with a virtual Napoleon and he does something inherently wrong and off-putting, you know, he's speaking in English to you instead of French or something, then I don't know that there's anything that you can do to get the user to buy into the truth of this is a real Napoleon that I can predict his behavior. You can get them back by, all right, we're done with the Napoleon level. We're moving on to something else that they can see with fresh eyes and give the benefit of the doubt. But I think it's very hard once they can't trust something, it's very hard to get them to trust that particular thing again, just because of the way it works. And the only thing that I think can do it is more exposure without any more errors. And, you know, they can sort of statistically work their way back up to like, OK, this works almost all the time. I guess I'll give it another chance. But it's a very tricky problem.

[00:24:00.555] Kent Bye: Yeah, what I see here at IEEE VR is a lot of people trying to do input controllers or haptics and trying to go from that low fidelity and into that awkward middle ground and sort of up to that high fidelity but that so much of the haptics and the input controllers and everything are still kind of hovering in that really awkward middle space and so It almost feels like frustrating as a VR designer and developer to like, it's almost like we're stuck in the uncanny valley or stuck on one, the edges of it, you know, and to kind of, to be bold and to innovate, you know, you just end up kind of falling into the pit of the uncanny valley whenever you try to Increased that once you go to that high fidelity. It's like you want that haptics that feels real You want that being able to track all the fingers and I sort of see this in the in the VR community as well And I imagine that oculus is also probably in that realm of that awkward middle area of trying to get the input controls to be just right but yet they're probably stuck in that sense of not getting it to be completely right with the haptics and everything else and so I Yeah, I just sort of see this tension between like, you know, it's very safe to be the low fidelity and to create these coherent experiences and maybe that's what we need to do at first, but yet perhaps it's just going to be time and a lot of people just innovating and experimenting and trying to keep plowing through that awkward middle ground until they get to that high fidelity enough to create a truly coherent VR experience on all those, you know, really high dimensions.

[00:25:24.132] Richard Skarbez: Absolutely. You know, we have to crawl before we can walk. And a lot of these things, a lot of people here you see doing great work with new technologies, new input technologies. But at this point, you know, perhaps they're better suited to special purpose applications where, you know, we really can't do it without haptic feedback. So we're going to take the best solution that we have available and do the best that we can with it. knowing that the next generation is going to be better than this one. But these are things where, depending on your application and depending on your market, maybe sort of a more general public targeted VR experience, maybe the haptics, for example, just aren't there yet. So that shouldn't be the focus of your application. You know, by all means, if you have a need of it in your application, There are many people doing really good work and trying really hard to make it better every day. And what you can have access to now is better than what you had access to a year ago. But it's not going to be at the level, I think, where you can promise to maintain that sort of coherent sense 100% of the time. There are going to be some failures. There are going to be some breaks. And for some applications, that's going to be OK, because the benefit of having something, of having some haptic feedback, even if it's not perfect, and even if it may sort of break coherence, it's so important for the task that the benefit outweighs the cost. It outweighs the fact that we might make this environment less coherent, and maybe people are going to experience breaks in presence. But I really need people to physically feel the muscle tension of lifting something for this application, so I'm going to bite the bullet and do it. But, you know, if the application is just, I want people to have fun in a virtual environment, you know, maybe you're better off just doing the best you can with, you know, an Oculus and a gamepad or something like that, and making it work rock-solid 100% of the time, rather than going out and really sort of risking this house of cards falling down by using, you know, input technology that isn't really suited to what you're trying to do.

[00:27:36.460] Kent Bye: And finally, what do you see as kind of the ultimate potential of what virtual reality may be able to enable?

[00:27:43.290] Richard Skarbez: That, I mean, that's the big question. You know, we go back to Ivan Sutherland and the ultimate display, so we would have the holodeck or something. But I think Really, what we have is baby steps. Every day, some new technology comes out that makes VR suitable for an application that it wasn't suitable for before. The Oculus, for example, or just in general, commodity VR hardware doesn't solve all the world's problems, but it makes things possible that weren't possible before as far as architectural walkthroughs and cultural preservation and things like that are possible now that weren't possible before. I think, and this is a little bit of a dodge of your question, that the sort of killer app for VR in the household doesn't exist yet. Or I haven't seen an application that's so compelling that everybody in the world needs to have and needs to use a high-resolution VR headset. you know we want it to be great and we want everybody to be excited about it but I think we're best served by sort of using VR for what we can do well and the more things that we can do well the more we can sort of expand those concentric circles of what we can do with it and what the everyday person should want it for you know so today perhaps the applications are somewhat limited you know we can use it for entertainment we can use it for sort of walkthrough applications and it does really well at those things. As maybe teleconferencing, you know, the back end, the communications infrastructure builds up, maybe we'll use it in a couple years for real meetings, real important things, you know, conversations with a doctor who's remote or with a businessman or a lawyer or something like that. And I think it can move up to, for me, maybe we're replacing the telephone or Skype or video calling with a shared VR space. I think there's a long way to go to get to that point where it's something that actually works 100% of the time versus being pretty cool some of the time. But I think that that is a really powerful application that I can see happening. I don't think it's gonna happen tomorrow. But I think as we get advances in tracking, you can get a Kinect, which is a pretty good tracking solution in pretty much any home for a couple hundred bucks. You know, with another generation or two of that, maybe we have full-body tracking that's good enough to do, you know, a realistic virtual avatar. And then you can get to social experiences in virtual environments, which is something that really doesn't exist yet. You know, every other technology that we have, again, focuses on doing a limited thing well. The phone conveys voice information well, but that's all it does. You know, Skype conveys voice and video, you know, a small video pretty well. It works. But to be able to have an embodied interaction with a remote person is very powerful. And I think that that is the sort of realistic hope, you know, maybe the 10 years out goal for VR, that that can be how you interact with people who aren't there with you. And I think that would be an amazing thing. And I think it's an amazing goal and a difficult goal, but perhaps a realistic goal for the near future of VR.

[00:31:12.081] Kent Bye: Okay, great. Well, thank you.

[00:31:13.502] Richard Skarbez: Thank you very much. I'm glad to be here.

More from this show