The first customers will receive their VR Oculus Rift headsets on March 28. Metro investigates how the gadget will impact our lives and the tech industry.
The Oculus Rift is expected to be a game-changer for the media, gaming communities and even the military, with the earliest orders expected to be shipped to customers at the end of the month.
Owners will be able to play, watch movies and pictures in a whole new dimension. Rift will give users an opportunity to literally enter digital spaces rather than being stuck behind a screen.
This gadget will become the first in a line of head-mounted displays coming to the market. In technical terms, it connects directly to a computer and establishes a framework where users can be teleported into various spaces for a 360 degree immersive experience. These experiences can be produced as live action movies using arrays of video cameras or be fully synthesized in 3D in real-time using computer graphics.
“Virtual reality is going to change everything,” said Derek Strickland, Florida-based tech and gaming news editor at Tweak Town. “It isn’t just a gateway for a new dimension of gaming, it’s a portal to a new reality, a digital world like the Matrix where just about anything is possible.”
Rift is already being used for countless medical purposes, from Alzheimer’s patients to phantom limb treatments. It is even reported surgeons are using the headset for training. If virtual reality moves beyond gaming on a full scale, it could directly influence our lives by allowing us to have different experiences, like jumping out of an airplane or visiting exotic countries.
Actually, experts estimate that virtual travel and sex are not that far away. For example, a company called SugarDVD, the self-styled Netflix of porn, is reportedly already working with a motion-capture studio to create an interactive adult experience.
“I’d say in about five or six years the technology might be there, especially if demand for it exists. Sure you’ll be able to watch porn in VR practically on day one, but feeling it… that’ll take some time,” Strickland added.
As for travel, Marriott Hotels have already capitalized on using Oculus Rift technology via its “Teleporter”, a phone booth-like structure combining the Rift, wireless headphones and 4-D sensory elements to offer virtual reality tours to different destinations.
“Rift could possibly change the content of our everyday world by allowing a change in people’s environment,” explained Cassie Slane, a tech consumer product expert from Philadelphia. “It could also change the way we communicate with people by, for example, allowing us to visit a doctor by putting on goggles at home.”
Virtual reality has a lot of potential in many aspects of our lives. Even though, for the time-being, the technology is only available to a relative minority, it’s inevitable that VR will soon become a part of our everyday lives.
“Headsets will become smaller, more powerful and cheaper in the future,” concluded Tim Nijland, VR expert. “Virtual reality will play a more significant role in our live; at work, at school and during leisure time. Things like gloves, suits and other input/output devices will also enhance the experience and make it easier to interact in the virtual world. I have no doubt that virtual reality will have more impact on society than any other media, including the Internet.”
- By Dmitry Belyaev