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VR to the ER: Metaverse Early Adopters Prove Accident-Prone

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James Buckingham of Bedford, England, accidentally struck a friend while playing a VR game that involves striking moving blocks to the tempo of popular songs.

Credit: James Buckingham

A few hours after Toby Robicelli first strapped on the $300 virtual-reality headset he got for Christmas, the Baltimore teenager, who was playing a shooter game called "Superhot VR," lost his balance and fractured his kneecap.

"We set it up around 2:00," said Toby's mother, Allison Robicelli, of the tech gadget, "and by 8:00 we were on our way to the ER." She fainted when she saw his leg, she said, and Toby, 14, is now using crutches.

Sales of VR headsets rose more than 70% last year from 2020, according to International Data Corp., to 7.9 million units. Demand is driven in part by rising hype around the metaverse, a term proponents use to describe a future 3D version of the internet, comprising virtual worlds where people will get together to work, learn and play.

With interest in the devices growing, so is their reputation for being a source of pain and embarrassment.

From The Wall Street Journal
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