New Year Resolution

Entry by: Alex Fleet

9th January 2015
Jason eagerly unwrapped the shiny black package. He knew what was concealed within, even before he opened it. He already knew the weight, the smoothness, the wonders that lay within.

He could recall so easily, if he chose, the first virtual reality headset he had used. It was bulky, heavy and kept sliding off his head. But at the time, it was incredible, a quantum leap in experiencing someone else's world, somewhere they had filmed or created in a computer.

Now, his only thoughts were focused on the small, expensive, exquisite neckband customised to his fit, his unique being.

Virtual reality had advanced, like the other technologies, in unbelievable leaps and bounds. The large cumbersome shoe box that he had worn for his first experience had reduced in size until it had resembles a thick pair of glasses.

The discomfort caused by the focusing problems of some users was solved after a while with display units worn like old-fashioned contact lenses. Miniaturisation condensed the display, prescribed by a specialist optician for each individual, to the size of the wearer’s pupils and incorporated a receiver from a transmitter worn as a pendant. Power for the display was obtained from a chemical reaction with the fluids of the eye. The sound came via audio studs mounted in the ear which created minute vibrations within the hearing canal’s inner workings, reproducing the required sound and cancelling out the background noise.

But just as soon as this technology had become commonplace, the current phase had been developed and hit the market in a rush.

Previous technology had been scarcely visible. This technology was invisible.

Users would have three implants secured beneath their scalps: one on each side of the skull, above the ears and a third at the back of the head, above the spinal column. Like the previous generation, these would receive the signal from a transmitter and each would use the body’s own fluids to create its power.

The three units triangulated incredibly thin-beamed nanowaves to multiple parts of the brain. At the intersections of the beams, molecular vibrations recreated sensations appropriate to the function of that part of the grey matter.

The signals were actually very weak, very precise, microwaves. Of course that phrase, microwave, was not really a marketable one when used in one’s own head, hence the nanowave expression.

The beauty of the system anticipated several generations of upgrades and redevelopments. The implants were capable of reproducing sensations way beyond the power of the current transmitters.
The new transmitter Jason held lovingly in his hand was the latest version, his second of this type, this one much more powerful than the entry level model he had just discarded. Like the implants, the transmitter was tailored exactly to his own specification. This model was even slimmer than the previous model. He opened the clasp and the neckband hinged open. He placed it around his neck and clicked it closed at his adam’s apple.

The programming had been transferred from the previous version to this one, so all he had to do was command it to start up and select the programme he wanted to use.

A couple of hours later he came back to reality, a very happy man.

But there was more. He always wanted more.
He had always tweaked units: he had tweaked his computers, his cars, his motorbikes.

He knew what he wanted to do with this. Nothing was adjustable with a screwdriver or spanner, which he found slightly frustrating. But he had adapted to taking someone else’s improved programme and improving it even more on his computer, making it higher quality, higher resolution.

Christmas had come and gone. This was his present to himself. Start as you mean to go on. In the same way his Dad had wanted a high definition television, Jason wanted the resolution of his virtual world to be as near real as possible. He had tweaked. And this was going to be the new year resolution.

He removed the neckband. Scanned it with his home-made reprogrammer and introduced his new programme. This would be ten times better than the one supplied, though that was so real he could hear the butterflies on the other side of the field he had just run across. Ten times more powerful.

He put the neckband on again, switched it on, settled back with a satisfied smile on his face.

A couple of days later they found him in the same position, his eyeballs white, his scalp red: his brain gently cooked.