Imagine, if you will, exploring the inside of the Taj Malhal, the majestic white marble interior, the intricate inlay work on the tombs – Hold on! You’re still in your living room with your Virtual Reality headset on. The images are so real as you move your head to see all around you, which adds an impressive field of view that is near perfect to real life.
While the concept of Virtual Reality isn’t really new, the technology has finally caught up to the thought and idea that has been around for decades. That’s right! No more slow moving polygon graphics, latency, or heavy headsets (which all made the viewing experience uncomfortable and unrealistic).
There are a few companies out there currently laying the groundwork in this newly developed technology. Some notable mentions are the following:
- Sony VR
- Integrates with your Sony Playstation 4
- Sony Network + Games
- Starts at $399 US
- Required: Motion-tracking move controllers US $60.
- The Oculus Rift
- $599.99 US (super cheap considering the tech behind it)
- Required: PC that has been built for gaming ($2,000 US+)
- Google Cardboard
- Entry-level VR tech.
- Required: Smartphone (closer to 6″ display is preferred)
- $15 US and up
I had the pleasure of trying on a set of HTC Vive VR goggles, thanks to Adam Rice of IN2 Games. The system is integrated with Steam games, and there was quite the catalogue to pick from. The world I immersed myself in was very real. I was on some sort of space station where I could navigate to different activity centres. I have a controller in each hand which I can see through the screen but I cannot see my hands.
I physically walk a few feet in front before, turn my head, see everything in full view with literally no latency. There is a mesh grill that appears in my line of sign letting me know that I have reached the boundary. I can then click on the num chuck control and transport across the room. I found myself taking a trip to the plains of Iceland, walking in the grasses and playing fetch with my robotic dog. It truly was an experience that I would go back to.
I think we can all agree that Virtual Reality is cool, and can have a multitude of uses, depending on the application, but there can be a dark side to it. If virtual reality becomes a part of people’s daily lives, the worry will be that they may prefer to spend a majority of their time in those virtual worlds, and this could lead to isolation, which then could lead to mental health issues. At the same time, interest of how virtual reality may affect our brains should also be something of a concern, being caught up for hours on end cannot be healthy. Either way, VR technology is here to stay, and will only improve in the coming years. I look forward to embracing this technology as it becomes more affordable for the average consumer.
Take a look at us testing out some VR action. This is an Archery game on Steam VR using the VIVE HTC.
If you haven’t caught our VR episode already, take a listen! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂