Every day we are reminded of just how much technology has changed the way we live and the way we interact with our world. Today, we bring you another technology that is making waves in the consumer tech world – Virtual Reality.
Virtual Reality in simple words is a technology that transports you anywhere through a head-mounted device. Yes, that’s right, anywhere! For many years, virtual reality has been largely an experiment restricted to the labs of the escapist technologists, science fiction geeks and military personnel. Not anymore though.
Two years ago Palmer Luckey, a teenage gaming and electronics enthusiast, tinkered with old headsets to make it work with modern games. Fast forward into the present, his successful Kickstarter campaign has enabled him to build a commercially viable prototype under 300$. It’s no wonder Facebook bought him out for $2 billion. Oculus Rift is now in the final stages of development and will be formally launched in the year 2015.
What makes the Oculus Rift technology truly amazing is that it opens the door for a new type of experience for the mass audience. A recent campaign by Marriott Hotels used virtual reality technology as part of its ‘Travel Brilliantly’ campaign, targeted at next-gen travelers in major cities. During the onground campaign, the customers were made to wear an Oculus Rift headset and step into a "Teleporter" booth and were transported to exciting exotic locations like Black Sand Beach in Hawaii and the top of Tower 42 in London.
Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg, while announcing the news of Oculus’ acquisition, had said, “Imagine enjoying a courtside seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world, or consulting with a doctor face-to-face—just by putting on goggles in your home.” Smithsonian Magazine termed it as the “first true wave of popular virtual reality”. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University hope to use the Oculus Rift and Robots to bring the moon to us.
Now, let’s bring this technology a little bit closer to something we are all too familiar with – the home search experience. Buying a home is one of the most important decisions for an individual or a family. But, the home search process is far from ideal. Finding a home itself is cumbersome, let alone the post-selection process. Individually going to 30-40 places in different locations to be able to shortlist a mere 3-4 which could be your potential dream house can be tough, to say the least. It’s not just the time wasted in scheduling and viewing these places, but also the physical pain of viewing every house.
Rather, imagine walking to your nearest home finance office, where you are asked to sit comfortably, offered some hot chai along with the Oculus Rift goggles. You wear the device and are immediately transported to a virtual map of your city of choice. You select a region, and then select a building. You then select a floor and your virtual tour begins. You conveniently walk inside every nook and cranny of the potential house. Inspect the walls, the floor, the ceiling, the windows and more. You do this 30 times over if you want. You simply have to sit back, enjoy the show and then at the end of it, you can shortlist the places that you actually want to see. Wouldn’t that be a reality worth having? The Oculus Rift technology can make it a possibility. It can make a highly cumbersome process a really effortless one.
Ten years ago, trying to envision the way we use mobile phones today is impossible. Virtual Reality has the same promise in this decade.