In this world, Desmond stood stock still on the assembly line as half assembled headsets moved past him on the conveyor belt. As he did so, the lenses inside Desmond’s own headset—which made his head look like a smooth black globe—refreshed new images every tenth of a millisecond. A row of lights moved back and forth on the left side, stopping on one light every so often as the headset stimulated a particular part of his cerebral cortex.
Through it all, the translation algorithm processed everything he perceived from the outside world.
One of the headsets on the assembly line moved in front of his field of vision, and as the camera on his own set registered the image, it translated it in an instant, so the lenses in his headset turned his field of vision into a beach on a cloudless day. The headset’s microphones converted the sounds of the factory into the sound of waves lapping on the shore. Once the sensors around the nose plugs he wore registered the burnt melallic smell of solder, the synthesized smell of the ocean, crisp and tart, flooded his nasal passages.
In that world he sat down, moving his fingers through the sand. He closed his eyes, listened to the sound of his breathing, and smiled.
Again the translation algorithm processed oceans of data, converting the thoughts of these actions on the beach into the rote motions of his left hand picking up a heat sink. In his mind, as he wiggled his toes in the sand, the algorithm converted these into the real world actions of putting the heat sink into the grooved empty spot on the motherboard, and soldering it into place.
The headset moved down the conveyor belt, and another moved in front of him. In the world of the headset he wore, a gull flew by, squawking for its mate. He shielded his eyes from the sun to look at the gull, and the algorithm converted these actions into his left hand once again reaching into the huge bin for another heat sink.
His supervisor walked up to him.
“Speed it up,” the supervisor said.
In the world that the headset created she emerged from the water and put her arms around him.
“I love you,” she said.
And as the translation algorithm processed his embrace, it became, in this world, even more rapid movements of his fingers as he soldered the heat sinks into place just a little bit faster.
A few hundred yards down the assembly, other workers with headsets covering their eyes packed the headsets into boxes that contained video gaming consoles.. And inside the headsets that these workers wore, the twelve hour shift became a hang gliding vacation in the Bahamas. In their minds, their bodies shifted as they banked left, which translated, in this world, to picking up the tape gun, sealing the box, and loading it on a forklift, whose driver was busy steering a shuttle around the earth.