Oculus Rift (Summer of Rift)
Facebook a year or so ago purchased Oculus and rolled it into their ecosystem. I tried it at Facebook a while back and was seriously impressed. I have tried Google Cardboard which works well for a device that marries a phone with a box.
Google continues to develop more technology around the VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) world with Daydream (and more headsets expected this year). Facebook has set a very high bar with the Oculus purchase.
Oculus require more of an investment (the headset and sensors have dropped in price to $399 for the summer) and needs to connect to an appropriately powered PC. Amazon and others sell “Oculus Ready PCs” ranging from $600–2000 to power the graphics and connectors needed to operate the system fully.
The current model comes with the following items, the headset, controllers and cameras (1–2 depending on the version).
Launch the Oculus app on the PC and slide the headset on and you are transported! Slide the Touch Controllers on your hands and you now can reach, move, grab and interact with this world. Amazing.
I am running the Beta version of Rift and have tried a few apps, all impress.
Google Earth allows you to see and stand in various places around the world, The Climb allows you to climb a mountain face (and look down — I promise you will not be disappointed). Google and Facebook both have apps that allow for virtual model and creation of items (that could actually be 3D printed).
This is a new world, one that is becoming more immersive and a broader experience and opportunity to those that have the ability and creativity to use it. That being said, the systems are such that there is still some “tricking” that is going on between your eyes, mind and motion (or lack there of). The system can produce nausea and basic discomfort so use with caution…
Over the next year (2018 seems to be a big year for this), I imagine Oculus (which will be introducing more headsets — maybe wireless) and Google, we will see some neat and practical uses for a VR and/or AR worlds very soon.