Our Eyes are Modems

I read an article about a new retinal HMD. Virtual reality has never been a huge interest of mine, but seeing as I look at a screen all day as a programmer, anything that could improve what I see all day seems worth a look (no pun intended).

It occurred to me that the development of this sort of technology is really similar to a modem. If we think back to early days of the internet (it wasn’t really that long ago in the grand scheme of things) we had modems in our computers. A modem is a “MODulator DEmodulator” and it took analog sound from the phone line and translated it into data for your computer.

Our eyes act like a modem. We sense changes in light and translate that to data. We then act on that data accordingly. Sometimes that data causes us to blink while other time it stirs up emotions. This last bit is why I believe most of these technologies focus on films as an example use case. A movie is really a physical representation of experiences as told through light. If a movie causes the viewer to experience some emotions, it has effectively communicated it message.

I’m still on the fence as to whether this sort of direct analogue connection to our brains is beneficial or just plain old scary.