Saturday Musings - Virtual Reality Has Come of Age

Saturday Musings - Virtual Reality Has Come of Age

I’d finally done it! I’d made it through a tumultuous week to Friday. I’m not really sure why Friday’s are so special, but for me, around 6pm yesterday was one of the happiest times of the week.

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So why was Friday so special? It just so happens that earlier in the week I’d finally received my Oculus Touch Virtual Reality (VR) controllers to go with my headset. It’s been a busy time of year and all week I’ve been staring at them in their box while I coded away…..sigh…..

Yesterday, I ceremoniously removed them from their awesome packaging (it really was) set them up and took them for a spin. For those of you that are wondering, each of the VR controllers are like a sawn off X-box controller that you hold in each hand.

When I donned my headset the first thing that I noticed were my hands. They were floating in the air in front of me! When I moved my arm then my virtual hands followed. I could reach out and grab things, throw them or bring them closer to inspect them in more detail. It was like a dream come true…..I had hands!

The controllers came with a couple of games and I pointed to one of them (yes, you can point with your VR hands) to fire it up. The next thing I knew I was being taken through a tutorial on how to have combat by flinging magical fireballs at an opponent. All the time I was doing the action with my real hands and watched as my VR hands enveloped in flames before the ball of flame shot through the air.

Bringing my left arm up and squeezing my fist spawned a glowing shield that I could manoeuvre to block my opponents attacking spells. It wasn’t long before I was teleporting across platforms, shooting fireballs and dodging attacks…..simply incredible. All from the safety of my study.....thank goodness!

I finally exited the game and pointed to the Sports game. Basketball involved throwing the ball to your team mates, catching the ball and then trying to make a score. It was a bit difficult at first but I got into the swing of it in the end.

My favourite sports game was hockey…..maybe due to growing up northern Canada has something to do with it. I played the goalie, defending my goal with a glove in one hand and a hockey stick in the other. Watching the opposition pass the puck back and forth and then suddenly slapshotting it straight at me gave a real impression of the speed a goalie must have to stop scores.

 With every save the crowd roared their approval and adrenalin surged through my body. I began to really feel like I was there and I couldn’t help yelling at the opposition as I got into the spirit of the game. Thank goodness, I was home by myself otherwise I think my family would’ve thought I’d completely lost it.

It’s clear to me that VR is the future of entertainment, education and business communication. The touch controls are the next step in an immersive direction and I’m sure it won’t be long until we’re wearing tactile feedback gloves. For those of you with VR based domain names…..I think you’re on a winner….they just need a little more time.

If you have an Oculus Rift setup then feel free to friend me (my username is whizzbang…of course) as I would love to fly in a squadron of space fighters around asteroids with you.

Have a great weekend!

Greenberg and Lieberman

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