August 6, 2015 9:45 AM EDT

This week’s TIME cover story takes a look at the latest advancements and enchantments of virtual reality, as seen through (literally) the lens of the Oculus Rift and its inventor Palmer Luckey.

A quick survey of some of the other inventors who’ve been featured on TIME’s cover over the years reveals that Luckey is in good company—and that inventors can tell you something about the times in which they live. In the 1920s and ‘30s, the inventions featured were what we still think of as inventions (light bulbs and the like); in the mid 20th century many scientists seemed more focused on discoveries (like atomic power); more recently, computer technology provides the inspiration. But no matter the era, these men (and yes, they’re all men so far) changed our world.

Read this week’s cover story here: Why Virtual Reality Is About to Change the World

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Write to Lily Rothman at lily.rothman@time.com.

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