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Take Internet lag, for example, the obnoxious delay between cause and effect that any veteran of online gaming or video chat knows all too well. So Ume.net, a fiber broadband provider that offers speeds “up to 1000 Mbit/s,” sought to demonstrate just what a difference a fraction of a second can make when it comes to streaming data. In the video below, volunteers strap on Oculus headsets wired to display images slightly desynchronized from the world itself, then try to dance in a group, go bowling, or (most dangerously) cook a meal.
What do we learn from this? Mainly that our natural senses, whatever their imperfections, do a pretty good job of keeping us properly oriented in space-time. Also, there’s nothing easy about experiencing daily life on a minor delay, especially when it comes to Ping-Pong. With wearable tech bridging the gap between cyberspace and meatspace, mitigating that disruption is crucial.
Miles Klee is a novelist and web culture reporter. The former editor of the Daily Dot’s Unclick section, Klee’s essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM, Salon, the Awl, the New York Observer, the Millions, and the Village Voice. He's the author of two odd books of fiction, 'Ivyland' and 'True False.'