New Experiment Shows What Internet Lag Would Be Like In Real Life

Ralphie Aversa
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The demand for faster Internet connections has grown proportionally to the rising popularity of FaceTime, video chatting, and other means of real-time communication. But with some Internet service providers (ISP) in certain areas, a connection lagging real time by a few seconds is inevitable.

Dealing with a delay of three seconds or fewer in an Internet connection is simply a First World problem. Dealing with that same lag in reality is a real problem. This is evidenced by a Swedish broadband provider's experiment.

Umeå Energi is an electric company in Sweden. To demonstrate how Internet lag translates in the real world, the ISP outfitted four volunteers with an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, a Raspberry Pi single-board computer, noise-canceling headphones, and a webcam. The four pieces of technology combined to take each volunteer to a new world, where they would see everything, including their own actions and reactions, three seconds after it actually happened.

The results are hilarious. Simple tasks like pouring milk into a bowl or pancake mix into a pan become near impossible. Watching two people attempting to play table tennis or partake in a dance class while operating with a lag is almost painful — but also funny.

"One of the biggest disturbances on the Internet is lag," the company wrote on its website. "Unfortunately, many have accepted lag as a part of their everyday lives, mainly because they don't know that there actually is another option."

Insert the plug for broadband provider The ad campaign is definitely reaching a vast audience. Since the video was published Sunday, it has been viewed more than 1.5 million times.