My 1st experience of Virtual Reality

Yesterday I had my very 1st experience of Virtual Reality (VR)

My best friend’s son has put together a top end gaming system with a state of the art video card married with an Oculus Rift.

Having been a gamer since the late 1970’s on a Mainframe computer through all the leaps in technology from pub pong to my PS4 to be fully immersed in the VR world was mind blowing.

After he adjusted the Oculus head set for me and placed headphones on my ears he pushed the key to start the Oculus demonstration software and it was literally like entering a new world.

While the pixel resolution is not yet the quality of the best video screens the whole experience is truly immersive and very quickly allows you to suspend reality.

As a flight simulator enthusiast like myself he then placed me into the latest VR flight simulator software and into the cockpit of a beech baron. Having flown these in real life, to take off, do some circuits and land was the most amazing experience I have every had with a computer.

Very quickly I felt like I was flying the real plane and could look over my shoulder to line up the runway and even had some slight motion sickness as the plane yawed coming in for landing.

The 3D cockpit was breathtaking with all the instruments and avionics working as I was used to in all their 3D and VR glory.

After an hour of flying it was a disappointment to take off the headset and enter the “real world” and in many ways was just like coming out of a dream.

To say I was impressed would be a very gross understatement.

It is very difficult to describe the experience in words as it is one of those things, like a rollercoaster ride, that you have to experience for yourself.

The thought that struck me is that this is just the beginning of what what will be a whole new age for computing and will change in a very profound way how we interface and interact with computers.

With peripherals that allow you to feel and touch objects in the VR world and clothing that provides haptic feedback (all of these exist now or under development) the ability to suspend belief and enter a totally immersive VR world will be compelling. One that I very much wish to be a part of.

To have the best VR experience today does not come cheap as you need a high end computer and graphics card to get a state of the art experience.

There is a more consumer focussed system coming soon with Sony VR and the Sony PS 4.5 and I’m looking forward to comparing this with my Oculus experience (knowing that it won’t be as good). However if it is “good enough” I will most likely purchase this and wait for the next generation of VR on the higher end.

Having gone from playing Adventure on a line printer (“green screens” were a luxury) to VR in my lifetime feels like a caveman experiencing flying on a jumbo jet for the 1st time.

It is simply awesome and breath taking and I want a lot more of it!

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