MSI has built a desktop-sized computer tower that’s also a backpack. And, bizarrely, it may not be a terrible idea.
Here’s why it exists: Right now, if you want to experience any of the three high-end virtual reality platforms, you have to do it with a thick cord erupting from the back of your head and tethering you to a computer or PlayStation 4 like an alien mind-control tentacle.
In addition to being unwieldy, the brain tentacle can be a bit dangerous — there’s no way to see where the cord is as you walk around the space delimited by the VR system’s wall sensors. Blinded to dreary actual reality, I’ve tripped on my electric ponytail several times in just a couple hours with our office HTC Vive.
MSI’s backpack PC, which looks a bit like the devices used at virtual reality theme park The Void, aims to solve that problem.
The gaming computer company teases the gadget on their website with just a few details, like an Intel i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX980 graphics card. (And just that one tiny photo!) But we can extrapolate as to its uses.
With a backpack PC on, your imagination hose can pump dreamlike VR content directly into your ears and eyeballs from the region of your spine, bypassing your feet entirely. You’ll almost certainly have to stay within the small floor spaces VR devices currently allow you to wander through. But you can do it with a lower chance stumbling into the actual world in a mess of shattered, pricey digital screens and jagged plastic.
On the other hand, it might make it even easier to crash headlong through an 8th-floor window (a real concern I always have in VR) — or destroy a pricey specialty computer by sitting down too hard. But you win some, you lose some I suppose.
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