Recently, a malady called “Oculus face” has come to the fore. I envisioned Dick Tracy speaking into his two-way wrist radio: “Good news chief … we’ve cornered B.O. Plenty, Breathless Mahoney and Oculus Face at a warehouse down by the docks … bringing them in for questioning.”

The ailment comes from wearing the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, which tends to leave red marks on a user’s face. The marks disappear – eventually. Whether other VR headsets from HTC, Sony, Google and Samsung will cause the same problem remains to be determined.

But bigger issues are afoot. Noting that VR leaves some gamers feeling sick, the Daily Mail of London notes:

“The low-latency headsets from Oculus, HTC and Sony are intended to right the nausea-inducing wrongs of their VR predecessors from 20 years ago, but many users still report feeling woozy after using souped-up systems. … There’s still concern the immersive technology may force players to lose more than a battle with an alien. They could also lose their lunch.”

The $600 Oculus headsets require a high-end PC. The people testing them now are journalists and the original Kickstarter funders of the company, which was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion. The market for VR seems about to explode; not surprisingly the porn industry is interested.

Detective Dick Tracy would have no use for VR, but he was an early adopter of forensic science and gadgets, including the two-way wrist radio, decades ahead of its time. He first appeared in a comic strip in 1931, the creation of Chester Gould, who retired in 1977. Dick has been portrayed on radio and in film, and the comic strip continues to this day in the dwindling number of newspapers that carry comics.

Check out the trailer for “Brainstorm,” a 1983 movie about VR: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNiZP2G-nEM

Advertisements