Beware: After a new caucus — the Congressional Caucus on Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality Technologies for the 115th Congress — formed in the US House of Representatives, the government has decided to go after all mixed reality head-mounted displays. The HoloLens, Magic Leap — nothing is safe anymore.
Okay, so don't take that too seriously — the government is not really coming after your headsets. In fact, they just started something that could potentially be really cool. Nicknamed the "Reality Caucus," it's a group co-chaired by five US representatives to focus on sharing information about VR, AR, and MR technologies between Congress and the technology industry.
These technologies have shown tremendous potential for innovation in the fields of entertainment, education and healthcare ... This is an opportunity to educate our colleagues and others to ensure Congress is doing all it can to encourage — rather than hinder — these enterprising fields. We look forward to working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to help support innovation and address the challenges posed by this emerging sector.
Yes, the government getting involved in any industry is a pretty nerve-wracking idea. The one thing we are hopeful for, though, is that this new bipartisan group will see the potential in headsets like the Hololens and Magic Leap and, ultimately, provide more room for funding.
Ted Lieu voted against the EPA Science Board Reform Act, and seems like a forward-thinking guy based on his constant tweets against Trump's science policies. Yvette Clarke sits on the Communications and Technology Subcommittee with Bill Flores, where both advocate for increased funding for science and tech.
The government getting involved in next reality technology doesn't really come as a surprise. HMDs are devices that physically connect to us and some level of regulation can be justified. Just think back to that whole Pokémon GO fiasco back in 2016. Following little-augmented creatures around, well, that may lead you into some trouble if you don't pay attention to your surroundings.
Next Reality reached out to Congressman Bill Flores on whether or not the caucus believes the HoloLens to be the future of mixed reality headsets. I also asked, because I couldn't help myself, whether or not the five co-chairs will test out Microsoft's $3,000 headset, and if they could send an image our way if they did.
For now, the only image I can leave you with is this:
As for that picture of the Reality Caucus wearing AR/MR headsets — well, you are just going to have to use your imagination on that one.