Yesterday five US congressional representatives announced the formation of a ‘Congressional Caucus on Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality’.

The bipartisan caucus will be co-chaired by:

The reps issued a joint statement about the caucus:

As these technologies continue to advance and grow, this ‘Reality Caucus’ will work to foster information sharing between Congress and our nation’s world-leading technology industry. These technologies have shown tremendous potential for innovation in the fields of entertainment, education and healthcare. As these technologies develop, questions will inevitably rise in privacy, intellectual property and other areas. This is an opportunity to educate our colleagues and others to ensure Congress is doing all it can to encourage – rather than hinder – these enterprising fields. We look forward to working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to help support innovation and address the challenges posed by this emerging sector.

Part of the US Congress, the reps are members of the House of Representatives which has 435 members that represent districts within states. Together the House of Representatives and the Senate form the Legislative branch of the US government which deals with passing laws and regulations. For a detailed analysis of the inner-workings of the bill passing process, see this award-winning documentary.

We reached out to Brian Sommer at IME Law to explain the role of the caucus and its importance to the industry:

The Congressional members that formed the Reality Caucus essentially are the initial go-to resource (the de facto Congressional experts) for Congress when augmented, virtual and mixed reality bills or legislation is discussed. Immersive technology business and thought leaders will be well-served by understanding the predilections of these U.S. representatives serving on this Caucus, as their voting records could signal whether the bipartisan committee members are more or less prone to enact regulations.

Meanwhile, lobbyists advocating for the immersive technology sector can make an immediate impact by educating Caucus members on emerging privacy issues. For example, heat mapping analytics and biometric data technologies present novel ways for consumers to engage and interact with these emerging technologies. At the same time, privacy rights must be respected.

With a coordinated effort by industry leaders, educators, and Caucus members, great strides can be made at a federal level to avoid needless regulations, and encourage continued innovation and development within the sector.”

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  • Sponge Bob

    yeah, right…

    we really need those DC freaks to mess with VR/AR now

    after they screwed up everything – patents, copyrights, you name it rights

    • Actually, @disqus_PDyszClMXc:disqus, this makes sense as it allows industry to start working with key players NOW in order to shape the debate in the future.

      • nebošlo

        What key players? None of the people in that caucus are in any way key, and probably won’t even be there in a few years.

  • SharingIsCool

    At http://www.venturevr.biz, the line between healthcare and entertainment is being blurred. What you have here is moneyed interests for licenses and schooling that creates market barriers protecting its turf from artists and healers who are using technology to heal rather than pills and procedures. VR allows people to escape their own bodies and minds for a while, and it will play a vital role as America continues to age. The ACA was just gutted today, which means more in-home care will be on the rise as money for programs is cut. This just means frustrated family members who have to take care of the aging members who require as much, if not more care, than children. As for kids, it is recommended they be 13 before they use the tech but there is too much money in the kids market for that to stand for long. I go on about this stuff more here: http://www.randallscottwhite.com

  • GrangerFX

    I don’t see anything good coming out of this. All congress can do is slow down technology by catering to big business and rights holders.

    • Sponge Bob

      to BIG BUSINESS. period.
      no “rights holders” (unless they are big)

    • Zach Mauch

      Actually, a lot of it is about trying to have the laws keep up with the emerging technology. If it can keep from becoming partisan it will be fine. If not it will be a hornets nest.

  • DaKangaroo

    Yes because everything is made better by the involvement of US lawmakers. /s

    • Get Schwifty!

      Careful – any dissension these days from the mandated agenda will result in you being labeled a “hater”… you’re Progressive overlords have considered all and know all, there is no questioning their wisdom…

  • Xilence

    Copyright is one thing, censorship is another. I don’t care WHAT happens in VR, they have on right to regulate it.

  • FRED

    oh great something else for the government to f up!

  • sfmike

    Just what we don’t need, a bunch of know nothing corporate loving christian busybodies set on placing their stamp of morality on this evil tech and insuring large corporations can monetize VR and AR at the expense of the small developer. And ya it will devolve into a porn debate as it always does. Screw congress.

  • Zach Mauch

    As long as the industry can steer clear of any “sides” forming between the political parties, this will probably be a good thing. The biggest problem we have in government is when something gets tagged as a “conservative” or “liberal” view. The rest of the tech industry has mostly steered clear of it so hopefully VR/AR will too.