Northeastern University VR lab targeted in mail-bomb attack

Technology
Image: Jess T-R / Flickr

Law enforcement officials are investigating an apparent mail-bomb attack on the virtual reality center at Northeastern University after an employee was injured in an explosion Tuesday evening. Authorities say the package was sent in a hard plastic case and triggered to detonate upon opening.

The attack appears to be politically motivated by fear of VR technology, as it was accompanied by a rambling note attacking Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and broader academic research on augmented reality devices, per CNN.

The employee, who works at the VR center, suffered lacerations to his hands but was not seriously injured.

Northeastern University hosts a number of VR-oriented facilities, including an Immersive Media Labs Suite that “includes technologies for design, development, and exploration of virtual worlds, AR/VR/XR, and 360 video.” A separate student organization provides students with free access to VR hardware.

Per police reports, the package detonated shortly after 7PM ET. University police declared the scene “contained” just before 10PM. The suspect remains at large.

Speaking to Newsweek, a UK-based counterterrorism expert noted similarities to the Unabomber attacks, which killed three and injured dozens more over the course of 17 years. Notably, the attacks were carried out by mail bomb and motivated by a paranoid fear of technology.

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