A few days ago I stood on the bridge of a spacecraft and looked out into deep space. I watched in awe as the Sun bathed our Earth in light, all the while Carl Sagan’s words played over and over in my head. I listened to, actually felt, the hum of the gravity generators that kept me secured to the floor and allowed me to walk around the craft. I marveled wide-eyed at the technology that powered this behemoth of engineering. More than once I had to steady myself due to the onslaught of stimuli. At some point I remembered to breathe.
Check mark on the bucket list. Thank you note to the folks at Oculus. A love letter to Rift.
I find that I’m pretty jaded when it comes to new technology and/or the next great thing. Hype precedes the experience and once it arrives you are left with wanting. The Oculus Rift has pretty much smashed that way of thinking in the mouth.
So what is Oculus Rift? It’s virtual reality that actually feels like reality. Cinematic Virtual Reality to be exact. This is not just looking at a landscape or some 3D object in space. Rift shoves you face first into a new world. You live in that reality. You slip on the Rift headset/display and within a very short time your brain accepts whatever it’s viewing as reality. In this case, a spacecraft we created, traveling through the far reaches of the universe. Rift is some scary sh*t. Scary in the way that the virtual world you are immersed in becomes your world. The first few seconds with the Rift are spent admiring the environment you are in. Then in short order you just accept everything as if it exist in real time and space. I found myself forgetting about the hardware and started living in this artificial universe that we had created. At one point I looked over a railing and down into the ship and completely believed that I would fall if I leaned too far over. My brain processed the experience as real. My body reacted to it accordingly. I could have been standing on the edge of a five story building and the reaction would have been the same. Scary sh*t.
Oculus Rift and all the voodoo behind it is something that you truly have to experience first hand. This is strap in, hit launch and hang on. No watching from the sidelines. As with any medium, the content is king. The experience you are having needs to be carefully designed and crafted around the end user. Flaws are magnified in a VR environment. Poor storytelling and craftsmanship are quickly noted and the experience, while interesting and maybe even cool, is less than stellar. Go for stellar.
There is amazing opportunity for this technology. The entertainment industry will lead the charge for sure, but it has such potential in science, healthcare, engineering, automotive, exploration, architecture, training, education and on and on. Virtual surgery could be performed with real time cause and effects that would train the next generation of doctors. First responders could train in virtual emergency situations. Engineers could travel inside virtual turbines. Soldiers could train in virtual counterparts to their actual missions. Those affected by autism could learn to work out sensory issues in a virtual world that might help them in the real world. On and on and on.
At OFFWORLD we are embracing this new tech and playing with it like it’s the X-men Danger Room. It damn sure feels like it. We have built our agency around telling our client’s story. Cinematic Virtual Reality is one more way we can connect brands with their audience. It leverages everything we do here and offers an experience that is far from understated.
We’ll be showing it off pretty soon at an event with our friends over at Dimensional Design. Look for a post on that soon. If you want to know more about Oculus Rift and Cinematic VR, please reach out to us. We are always happy to answer any questions and even arrange a demo.