The record for the longest time spent immersed in VR is becoming quite popular as multiple people keep setting it higher and higher. Last week we reported about a user spending 36 hours playing Tilt Brush and breaking the previous record of 25 hours. It only took 2 weeks for that record to be broken by 2 Brooklynites as they watched 50 non-stop hours of VR content.
Alejandro “AJ” Fragoso, 26, from Park Slope, Brooklyn and London born Alex Christison, 37, who lives in Brooklyn Heights, watched back-to-back movies and 360°-degree titles such as “Stranger Things | Virtual Reality / 360 Experience,” “KONG VR: Destination Skull Island,” and the award-winning 360-degree short film “INVASION!” from Baobab Studios.
The contestants used the Occulus Rift and utilized the Cyberlink PowerDVD player to play the digital media. While PowerDVD supports both the Rift and the Vive the participants used the Occulus rift for the challenge. The consensus among users is pretty clear in the fact that the Rift is more comfortable to wear than the Vive, hence the choice for the headset.
This was Alejandro’s second time participating in the Guinness World Records as he broke a previous record last year for the longest marathon watching television, where he binge watched 94 hours of TV.
After completing the 50 hours in VR Fragoso said:
“The VR headset added a new twist to the previous challenge; I felt cut off from the real world and the passage of time. It’s a surreal experience. “
The second contestant, Alex Christison, previously helped CyberLink capture a 360° first-person experience of the New York City Marathon in 2016. He binge watched content along Fragoso, and also set the record for the longest marathon watching virtual reality video content.
After the completion of the challenge Christison said:
“I had no idea just how difficult it would be to complete this VR movie marathon. Being completely immersed for such a long time was a huge mental strain.”
To make sure none of the contestants experienced any medical difficulties during the challenge, a doctor was present on set. Dr. Robert Glatter, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine conducted regular physical check-ups of the participants to examine the effects of the prolonged immersion in a virtual environment.
Dr. Glatter’s findings indicated that both participant’s experienced elevated heart rates after a prolonged period of sleeplessness. Furthermore, they experienced neurological side-effects such as an increased frequency of involuntary open-eyed “micronaps” and acute hallucinations.
As VR progresses it will be interesting to see if there are any long term side effects from long time exposure to VR. The first issue that comes to mind is possible strain on the eyes which could deteriorate one’s vision over time. However, the screens which HMDs use are quite different than the big boxy archaic screens which did in fact hurt vision. Only time will tell the true effects of long term immersion in a virtual environment.
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