Letter bomb with anti-VR message reportedly hurt VR lab director
A package hurts the head of a VR lab at a U.S. university. It allegedly contained a message criticizing Meta’s VR plans.
The incident occurred Tuesday evening at Northeastern University. The university maintains an immersive media lab that conducts research on VR projects.
The lab’s director, a 45-year-old man, opened a hard plastic case sent to the institution Tuesday and suffered injuries to his hand. He was taken to a hospital.
The employee involved later told investigators that when he opened the package, it “depressurized with the force of an explosion.”
Anonymous message criticizes Mark Zuckerberg
The man also said the package contained a message addressed to the “head of the lab,” CNN reports, citing sources familiar with the case.
The one-page memo accused the lab of secretly working for Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the U.S. government, which planned a conspiracy to use virtual reality to take control of society, the sources said. Facebook had focused on building a metaverse nearly a year ago and renamed itself Meta. The message also reportedly gushed about the close collaboration between academia and the VR industry.
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A false alarm?
Authorities are currently investigating whether it was a prank or a hoax, as the package contained no evidence of explosive material, according to Boston police and the FBI. Police believe the employee was injured by the overpressure in the plastic container.
Authorities also note that the package was not delivered by mail. An examination of surveillance camera footage is expected to shed light on how the package entered the building. Meanwhile, the lab director stands by his statement.
Criminal experts say the case is reminiscent of the Unabomber, who terrorized the U.S. public with mail bombs for 17 years. Behind the assassin was a former mathematics professor and technology critic. Ironically, there is a VR experience that deals with this case.
Northeastern University reopened Wednesday under heightened security.