Lately, I’ve been putting alot of time and research into Virtual Reality (VR) technologies. My first experience with VR was at a showcase a few months back, where I was able to demo a few different experiences at various price ranges. Of the experiences I had, the Vive stood out to me as the most developed solution at this time.
I was able to try the Vive with an application called Realities.IO, which is an app that sends users to various real world locations. After a short spiel by one of the developers, I don the headset and transported into space, with the earth in the center. I was able to walk around the earth and pan it around using the Vive’s hand controllers; Once I’ve found a location I liked, I was instructed to zoom in.
The location was at a Mayan temple in South America. The scene faded into view and I was instantly awed; I was able to walk short distances around the temple, and was also able to teleport short distances to places beyond the reach of the room I’m in. I couldn’t get over how real it all looked; Coming from software being in a flat surface of a monitor, this experience was able to encompass in my entire view, and my movements matched the movements on my ethereal character, standing on the steps of a Mayan temple I may never visit in my life. At one point, I kneeled down to get a closer look at some rockwork, and without thinking, reached out to touch it; A short moment of immersion that was broken because that rock was never there in the first place, but it seemed real enough to at least try.
The experience was over as quickly as it had began; The headset and headphones were taken off, and I was back in the conference hall, familiar with the murmurs and chatter of the space. But for that short moment in time, I could’ve convinced myself that I was somewhere else entirely.