VR is Very Real: Oculus Rift and More

By Vincent Tan

For the ultimate horror experience (at present), dare to play Affected while strapped into the Oculus Rift VR headset. You’ll have the sensation of being in a haunted house and literally unable to get away from its litany of creaks, floating furniture, shadowy rooms and dead screaming little girls.

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Such immersive technology began early in the 1990s, but germinated slowly, suffering from hitches like eye strain from a low frame rate and motion sickness from motion detection lags. Today, the technology has caught up and accordingly the market has seen several large players  developing their own lines of VR headsets: Facebook with Oculus Rift, Valve’s Steam VR, HTC’s Vive, Samsung’s Gear VR and Sony’s Playstation VR.

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Even Mcdonald’s is dipping its pinky toe into the VR water by releasing 3,500 limited edition Happy Meal boxes. These fold into VR goggles, transforming the smartphone ski game “Slope Stars” into a VR experience.

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The applications for being virtually anywhere, doing anything, give rein to the imagination. You can experience Hoi An, Tokyo or Cairns before choosing to fly there using Flight Centre Singapore’s VR system. You might give your clothing store’s walk-in customers a VR front row seat to your fall fashion show like Tommy Hilfiger did. You can even travel to the outer reaches of space on board the Ranger spacecraft from Interstellar at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Practically, simulated presence can enable astronauts on space missions to virtually visit families on earth and architects can explore their blueprints in 3D to discover potential flaws.

Riding on trends that are already vibrantly active, such as the demand for travel, for immersive video game experiences, and entertainment, VR tech looks set to become as widespread as smartphones. It might take 10 years, as Mark Zuckerberg surmised, but with so many opportunities, and the world on tenterhooks, it’s only a matter of time.  

*image credited to their respective owners

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