The era of virtual reality
Oculus Rift just started shipping on Monday bringing to an end high anticipation of how virtual reality would reach the masses. On the other end, HTC’S Vive is expected to begin shipping in April while Sony’s PlayStation VR will be out in October. The history of the Oculus Rift is both a long one and fruitful one. Oculus Rift co-founder Palmer Luckey using smartphone display took a technology that most people considered retro curiosity and convinced them that it would change the world.
The best way to explain Oculus is by first using it. According to the business insider, it has been described as a powerful headset with the ability to seemingly leave your body behind as you enter a game world or film where you experience a new form of storytelling. Your room hypothetically melts away and is replaced by something tangible that tricks the brain into believing it is close enough to reach out and touch.
The ability to teleport into the creative works of filmmakers, artist and game developers is something new and unique with a huge implication for the future. Even the Oculus team might not know how the technology will evolve once the creative portion of the world gets their hands dirty with the device and start pushing the boundaries of the art form.
The debut of Oculus Rift is a huge success in the virtual reality market. The headset had to be both beautiful and powerful. Since it is not something, users hold in their hands but place in their head this brings about a daunting prospect. Not only are the users blind to the world around them but there are the whole I-look-nut thing and here-comes-Skynet things. That not the end of it, once a user put’s it on their face, it needs to disappear. Not only should it be light but comfortable light. The more users remember it is there, the less they can lose themselves in everything happening inside.
Just like how shortcomings characterize new technology, the virtual reality market has a long way to go. For one, the cost and the required equipment might not be affordable to a larger population. The Rift itself retails at around $599 and users need to connect it to a PC with sufficient computing power. Buying the two can approximately cost around $1,500. The virtual reality will still need work to make it totally comfortable and immersive.
Currently, there is a cheap VR rig that does not require a tether and cost a fraction of Oculus Rift. The Samsung’ $100 Gear VR has been made in collaboration with Oculus and is powered by a smartphone. The main difference between the two is that Oculus screen refreshes faster than Gear VR helping to alleviate motion sickness and a flickering sensation experienced by some users. Both have the same image quality as Oculus.
Featured image credit: wired