Tech in front of our eyes

Virtual reality is in the news, but physical making is the real deal! This #MagPiMonday, Lucy Hattersley sticks firmly with real-life tech.

The future is amongst us. At least according to Apple, purveyor of shiny slabs, which recently announced a new glass headset to slap in front of your face. You can dial back reality using a rotating tool on the side, and tap apps and icons in mid-air. Sounds fun.

I’m not convinced by VR or AR. Does the future of technology really belong to this kind of detachment from reality? Who knows! Maybe I’ll have egg on my face and a Vision Pro headset in three years. I’ll be writing this with giant hovering buttons in front of my face while you read it, in thirty-foot-high letters being beamed into your retinas from an inch away.

Three different VR headsets on a white background

I’ll bet not though. I’ll be happily playing with Raspberry Pi computers and building ever more advanced robots and projects.

Still, there’s a lot going on in the tech industry at the moment. From strident leaps in AI (speaking of which, have you seen GitHub Copilot?) through to shiny new Apple toys, it feels like the tech industry is getting ready to limber back up.

Raspberry Pi itself is shaking off the effects of the supply chain problems that have plagued everybody for the last couple of years. There is no steady supply of Raspberry Pi Zero, Raspberry Pi 3A+, and an increasing supply of Raspberry Pi 4 models. 

Back in the room

This comes as a big relief to us. We’re keenly aware that people love this magazine because they love Raspberry Pi. And it’s easier to love something that you can reliably buy.

This brings us back to this weird virtual world that Apple seems to be pushing for. I don’t believe that real tech people want to point and tap into empty space. For me, the joy of computing is linked to the real world. It’s physical things you can pick up, hold, and use. Actual computers with wires and buttons and solder. Building an arcade machine, robot, or earthquake detector. It doesn’t matter if it’s a serious project or a piece of whimsy. What matters most is that it’s real.

The future appears one day and then suddenly it’s the present. It feels like ChatGPT and the AI generative genie are out of the bottle and will be staying with us, for now. I suspect we’ll also see a lot more generated AI art and 3D visuals. Personally, I hope that it’ll be the mundane but useful technology, the sort that pings me for calendar events and lets me know when my partner is calling, but then fades into the background when I’m looking at more interesting things.

Maybe VR and AR are the future, but I need to assemble it with my own two hands for it to feel real. There have been some attempts at VR with Raspberry Pi, and with its dual HDMI output, there is potential for VR projects with our little board computer. Maybe, when I’m hooking up dual tiny screens inside a 3D-printed headset, it’ll suddenly feel real to venture into an open-source virtual world. Until then, I’ll be sticking with actual reality.

The MagPi #131 out NOW!

You can grab the brand-new issue right now from Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, WHSmith, and other newsagents, including the Raspberry Pi Store in Cambridge. It’s also available at our online store which ships around the world. You can also get it via our app on Android or iOS.

The MagPi issue 131

You can also subscribe to the print version of The MagPi. Not only do we deliver it globally, but people who sign up to the six- or twelve-month print subscription get a FREE Raspberry Pi Pico W!

The free PDF will be available in three weeks time. Visit the issue page for more details.

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