Just hours after Toby Robicelli put on the $300 virtual reality headset he received for Christmas for the first time, the Baltimore teen, who was playing a shooter called “Superhot VR,” lost his balance and fractured his kneecap. .
“We got it installed around 2:00,” Toby’s mother, Allison Robicelli, said of the tech device, “and by 8:00 we were on our way to the ER.” She fainted when she saw her leg, she said, and 14-year-old Toby is now on crutches.
VR headset sales increased more than 70% last year from 2020, according to International Data Corp., to 7.9 million units. Demand is fueled in part by growing hype around the metaverse, a term proponents use to describe a future 3D version of the Internet, comprising virtual worlds where people will come together to work, learn and play.
As interest in the devices grows, so does their reputation for being a source of pain and embarrassment.