Browse By

Virtual reality becomes reality

While once simply an element of sci-fi movies, a future filled with virtual reality technology in your own home may be closer than you think. Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-simulated three-dimensional world in which the setting responds to the actions of the user, as if the user is within the reality itself.

Popularized in 1990s alien-thriller flicks, the first VR headset was unveiled in late 2010 by Palmer Luckey, now CEO of Oculus VR. The rudimentary prototype only displayed two-dimensional images and was cumbersome to wear, but set the stage for future innovations to come.

Oculus is an emerging VR company which fills those who have dreamed of this technology for years with anticipation. After decades of botched attempts, the headset Oculus Rift is the first VR system made available for consumer purchase.

The Rift is a wearable headset resembling goggles that fills the user’s eyes and ears with the virtual setting. Rift can be used for gaming, watching movies, storytelling or even professional purposes, including advertising and visualizing settings. A wide range of possibilities are opened up by VR technology, since it can be utilized for educational, industrial or entertainment purposes.

“There is definitely something really rewarding and powerful to be able to suck a spectator into your world and have no distraction, especially in 2015,” filmmaker Vincent Morisset said. “We’re so bombarded with distractions today through second-screen experiences and mobile devices that it’s nice to have a privileged connection with your spectator.”

Pre-orders for Oculus Rift began early this year, and they are to be released on Mar. 28. In fact, following the successful development of Oculus Rift, professional events have already implemented VR into their presentations.

The Leviathan Project, which was featured at Utah’s Sundance Film Festival, aimed to bring “The Leviathan” trilogy to life through VR. At the event, visitors could interact with painted props by using special gloves equipped with motion sensors. Also on display were headsets, in which visitors could “see” the iconic Leviathan spaceship hovering in the room.

“It looked really cool,” reporter Leif Johnson said. “And with both films and games, that’s always a step in the right direction.”
The Rift is to be released in March, with support for games such as the classic “Portal 2.” With virtual reality actually entering our reality, soon video game enthusiasts and moviegoers may do away with traditional 2D screens and literally become a part of home entertainment.