Category: Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR)

Like most new tech areas, VR manages to be both simple in concept but tremendously complicated in execution. The idea is that you strap a screen to your head and from your perspective, you're transported somewhere else - from an alien planet to the top of the Eiffel Tower and it is that simple. The complexity comes with interaction. Standing on the Eiffel tower is great but what if you want to turn around and walk to the other side of the balcony to look the other way?

 

There are three types of VR. First is the simplest and cheapest - a viewer. The most popular of these is Google's Cardboard and it lets you stand or sit at one specific point and look around you in all directions but not interact with what's around you in any way. It's a glorified photo or video and with a five-pound holder and with most phones, you can get a reasonable experience.

 

The middle option is with something like the newest version of GearVR or Daydream. This puts you at a single usually seated point but gives you a controller or remote to interact with what's around you. It might be as simple as a way to select things in a menu system or a more complicated way to move around in the virtual world but isn't necessarily a seamless experience.  If you've got the right powerful phone the controllers and headset controller will cost around £100.

The final option is a tracked system - the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. This is run from a powerful PC and uses room based sensors to track your position in space. You can move around a room and use hand controllers to interact with things around you and the system itself. This costs from £500 up to around £800 plus the cost of the PC but in return for that, you get an experience that genuinely feels immersive.

VR Headsets

Cardboard

Experience VR

Oculus Rift

Roomscale VR

Oculus Rift Games and VR Experiences

It's clear that if you're willing to make the investment a tracked experience is by far the best and one that's room scale is ideal. We've got the Oculus Rift in for testing and after moving out half of our living room furniture to make space we've been using it frequently. After over a year on the market, it's a mature system with a good range of games and software with more coming out on a regular basis. The Rift is our go-to VR system and far outpaces the budget options.

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Tilt Brush

I’m not an artsy person and haven’t painted a picture since before my GCSEs but when looking through apps to try on my new Rift headset I kept seeing one name – Tilt Brush coming up again and again. It’s an app from Google that was originally available on the HTC Vive but has since made it’s way to the Oculus Rift as well.

Robo Recall

When I was at EGX two years ago the VR fever was building with both the Vive and Rift about to launch. I took every opportunity I could to get time on whichever systems and games I could and aside from loving Elite Dangerous on the Vive had a great time in a Rift game that had me using two custom controllers to shoot rapidly increasing waves of robots bent on my destruction.

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Ergohacks

ergo adverb therefore
hack noun 1. … a quick or inelegant solution to a particular problem. 2. A strategy or technique for managing one’s time or activities more efficiently.

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