Thursday, September 14, 2017

Trying Oculus Rift

Two days ago, I stepped into the world of virtual reality. It truly was amazing. If you're a Star Trek fan, as I am, putting on the Oculus Rift headset is like stepping into the holodeck.

I got to try Oculus Rift because two friends of mine have formed a startup to develop a B2B application using virtual reality. One of those friends invited me over for a demo. While I didn't get to interact with her app, I did work through Oculus Rift's usage tutorial, learning how to use my hands and head to interact with my 3-D surroundings.

The imagination that has gone into this product is absolutely incredible, from the hardware design to the mind-blowing software. First, you're in a Japanese-like room with a fireplace and sounds of water, then you're in a blank infinity room, and you can see your virtual hands in front of you, holding the controllers. An English-accented woman gives you instructions. She sounds very other-worldly. You learn to push buttons and then shoot circles simply by pressing a button and pointing your index finger. Just like being a kid again. Blam! Blam!

But the best part was yet to come - winding up in a workroom filled with electronic junk and a little robot. The robot has personality and actually seems to want you to interact with it. My friend told me to turn around. You're really in a 3-D space! The robot gives you disks to put into a 3-D printer. Out pops butterflies. You can make them land on you and fly away. The experience is enchanting and somewhat addictive. I got to build and interact with a few more items - like little rockets - before the system froze.

I've known a lot of entrepreneurs over the years, but this is the first time I've dealt with ones who are in the field of virtual reality. Now I'm hooked and can't wait to go back and experience more. I'm really looking forward to seeing my friends' app and trying it for myself.