Is Virtual Reality finally here? The Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Device
The Oculus Rift may not look like much from the outside. Externally it appears to be not much more than a large pair of ski goggles. It’s not bulky or heavy like so many Virtual Reality headsets that came before it. It’s comfortable and lightweight, but it gets better. The Oculus Rift is currently being built primarily for computer gaming. This makes perfect sense as a starting point, the gaming community is far more likely to embrace and adopt new technologies sooner, and that will help it spread. A reasonably priced, easy to use and well built Virtual Reality device is something gamers have been wanting for a really long time. It seems they may finally be getting what they want.
The Oculus Rift plugs into your already existing computer and allows you to view a virtual world just as you would with your own eyes and head. Of course while wearing the headset you know you’re playing a game and viewing something that’s not real, but since your brain is not used to experiencing a virtual world this way, you forget, fast. You know you’re not in this world, but when you turn your head you see what’s to your left, when you look down you see the ground, it’s all normal enough to feel natural.
Funding for the development of this device came from Kickstarter, they asked for $250,000 to start development and they ended up raising nearly $2.5 million. They blew way past what they needed and kept going. This got the attention of bigger gaming companies that have begun working on enabling support for this device in their games. While it takes more work, many see it as the direction gaming needs to go.
Kickstarter funders were able to pre-order a development unit for $300, and it’s now beginning to ship out to them. This means it’s only a matter of time for people to find new and creative ways to use this product. While it was built for gaming initially, there’s no reason for it to be limited to that. Want to have a virtual tour of a hotel before you check in? Looking to design experience a house design, or office building? Or perhaps we’ll finally get some realistic virtual vacations that science fiction has been taunting us with for so many years. Whatever this becomes down the road, this is the beginning of it.