Only a few decades ago, virtual reality was the stuff of science fiction. In movies such as Brainstorm and The Lawnmower Man people could experience other realities merely by putting on a pair of computerised goggles.
Now the Oculus Rift headset promises to take virtual reality mainstream. And while you won't be able to buy one until next year, some early prototypes are in New Zealand.
Starting its life as a Kickstarter campaign, online backers initially gave around $2.5 million to see it made. Many who donated were long-term fans of videogames. In fact, the man who created games like Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake up and quit his software company to join team Oculus. Then last month Facebook brought Oculus for just over $2 billion.
So, the man behind some of the best games ever made now works for Mark Zuckerberg.
Oculus Rift won't be on the shelves until next year, but developers around the world are playing with early prototypes.
"Now that the screens are faster, the whole package is smaller, it's light, there's no bulky thing around your head," says FrogShark developer Alexey Botkov.
FrogShark in Auckland have been building games for the past month.
To really demonstrate the power of this VR device, I thought I'd get someone who had seen it all to try it out. Virtual Reality enthusiast Brian Metcalf is in his 70s. To us watching, Mr Metcalf is sitting in a chair. From his perspective, he's seeing a 360-degree view as he ascends in a roller coaster.
But this isn't a one-horse race. Sony is now working on their own virtual reality headset, called Project Morpheus.
Then there's Jaunt. They have raised more than $7 million on Kickstarter and plan to produce movies that work in virtual reality. Imagine watching Gravity but being able to look wherever you want. You control the film.
Suddenly you would be yelping along with Sandra Bullock, because you would be Sandra Bullock.
source: newshub archive