Half a century ago, scientists developed hallucinogenic and psychedelic drugs like LSD in an effort to explore the horizons of the human mind. Today, these ideas are again attracting researchers around the world, but they have moved from biochemical technologies to virtual reality. The key question is - is it possible with its help to immerse a person in a different state of consciousness?
The main work is carried out around an attempt to recreate the "journey" of the brain through the worlds invented by it, by analogy with the principle of expanding consciousness with the help of hallucinogenic substances. Typical works include the virtual reality applications Ayahuasca by French director Jan Kounen, Visionarium by artist Sander Bose and The Hallucination Machine, developed by the University of Sussex.
Users usually have no complaints about the visual component of these projects, but experts note that applications cannot simulate other aspects of psychedelic experiences. For example, the feeling of dissolution in space or unity with nature. And it's kind of a challenge for VR content developers, explains Keisuke Suzuki, one of the creators of the Hallucination Machine. And at the same time, an indication of the direction in which technology should be developed if we want to achieve the effect of complete immersion in virtual reality.
To date, virtual reality programmers and designers have run up against a technological barrier - they have already used all the tools for influencing the human senses, but this is not enough, and there are simply no new ones. A way out of the situation can be neurointerfaces that directly interact with the user's nervous system or brain. The current level of our technical development does not yet allow us to create them, which means that a full-fledged psychedelic journey in virtuality is not yet available to us. But the desire to get such a unique product can stimulate work in this direction.