Virtual Reality has been the stuff of Hollywood dreams since the 70’s way before any sort of good method to track head movement or believable CGI was available yet the idea was there that we could experience a world reserved for fantasy. If you have been anywhere near the gaming industry recently you would have heard of Oculus and their intelligent yet reasonably priced VR headset called the Rift.
At the moment you can buy a development kit which when combined side-by-side shows you 1080p imagery technically however really the overall image your brain processes is 960×1080 as your vision is combined from 2 separate screens. The lenses stretch the image in such a way that you have full field of vision, this combined with the motion tracking sensor and you have an immersive almost lag-free experience being somewhere other than the couch you are on.
Where I see this going:
- I, like most people I know don’t like work that much, sure it’s a living and yes 3 large screens on the desk are cool but I with tech like Oculus you can do away with all this energy hungry monitors and limitations like space and instead have 10-20 virtual displays on your head in the Oculus Rift have everything available even behind you so switching screens can be a thing of the past.
- Movies with full 3D motion tracked immersion is going to become a thing with companies already tooling up to figure out and develop ways for filmmakers to create a fully realised surround movie. Don’t just watch, see more than just one angle.
- More basic a premise would just be using the headset as a screen so I can play BF4 with mouse and keyboard AND see everything like I am right there.
- School would be exactly one million times more interesting if you could place your classroom at the great pyramids or the Amazon jungle. Physical education could also be enhanced, imagine being on a treadmill and seeing zombies behind you.
- Airplane flights would be so much more interesting if the Oculus Rift could make it seem like the floor wasn’t there, I know I would feel much safer. Similarly train and bus rides would be cooler if you could render reality like you were riding in an old timey coach over a rainbow highway made of pixie dust… ok maybe not. Watch for pickpockets… you SLEEP on the train don’t you?
- The accuracy of the head movement tracking could enhance the already established virtual combat simulator providers to provide a safe environment to train frontline troops and law enforcement. Then again flight sims can also benefit
- Complete HUD overlay – Attach 2 high def cameras to the outside of the Rift and use them as enhanced eyes. Send an image to the eyes of the camera’s vision plus overlay of whatever is important at the time. A truly multifunction headset for military or subversive behavior
- Pre-Driver training could be performed cheaply and with minimum risk before the student ever sets bum in a car. Drill road rules and handling method early and with plenty of time to learn and grasp the process with the potential to ensure learner drivers already have experience.
At $350 USD for the development kit and potentially the same price on release, the Oculus Rift is VR for everyone and no longer the thing of specialist services out of reach of the average civilian. We should be seeing it hit the shelves soon, my left-click is ready for the “buy now” button.