So what’s up with Virtual Reality?

ExperienceIf you have visited our page, you are likely already well aware of what Virtual Reality is. With the use of a head-mounted display, your brain is tricked into believing that it’s standing in a completely different environment. By having the camera match the user’s head movement and with the addition of peripherals to interact with the world, the user can experience a reality unlike our own.

It’s just an amazing concept. Much like how Star Trek predicted the mobile phone and tablets, it was definitely on to something when the series introduced the Holodeck. We can go to different worlds, do things that we normally wouldn’t do or even be able to do. Shoot at robots as a space pirate, or become the main character in a story where you are entering an alien world to rescue your twin sister. Prepare for an important presentation by acting out the whole thing in a room filled with virtual people. Do your daily office work on a space station overlooking the Earth. Talk with friends on the other side of the world around a campfire. Or simply watch a movie in your own private cinema.

What I’m talking about here is not sci-fi. It’s already here. I’ve done all the above, some on a regular basis. We can already experience it. So why hasn’t it caught on yet?

For me, the main thing is that it’s just impossible to actually describe it. I can tell you how cool this is, how incredible it, how weird it is. My wife thought that it was just a cute thing that I was blowing way out of proportion, until she was suddenly standing next to Paul McCartney while he was performing.

There’s the biggest problem with trying to promote what VR is. You simply can’t tell someone what it is, you have to experience it for yourself.

These days, I am convinced that VR is open for all. People generally seem to scoff at them, but I’m a big fan of solutions where you place your mobile phone into a kit like the Google Cardboard, Durovis Dive or Homido. While I wasn’t able to invest into the Oculus Rift prototype in 2012, I was able to use my clunky, 3-year-old Samsung Galaxy as a testbed to start developing and learning what the concept is all about. You can get a cardboard for about 3 dollars these days.

And while I will be the first one to admit that the Google Cardboard doesn’t, in any way, come close to the experience that you will get with something like the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift, that is not the point. By just giving people this brief taste, they’ll want to learn more, especially if you tell them about what additional features the advanced hardware will offer. For developers and artists, they can start tinkering and take their first steps to learn how easy it is to build content.

This is why I’m excited about being a part of Reality Lab. When we give live demonstrations, you can start to see people getting convinced. They will draw a simple 2D painting with Tilt Brush, and are then amazed when you tell them that they can actually walk around their drawing. That’s where they’ll start thinking about what they can do with this third dimension. And that’s when you know that you got them hooked. That’s when they will join us to brainstorm about what this technology will bring to the future.

And that’s when awesome ideas begin to form.

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