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THE NEW OCULUS RIFT AND WHAT IT REALLY MEANS FOR VIRTUAL REALITY

15 Jun 2015
Oculus Rift

Here at Chaotic Moon Studios, we’re no stranger to virtual reality (VR) and the seemingly endless possibilities associated with the technology (like shark punching, for example…just ask George Takei).

Past Chaotic Moon experiments with VR  have included the aforementioned Shark Punch—which combined with Leap Motion, allowing users to enter an “underwater” world and virtually combat the ocean’s deadliest creatures—along with a project simulating the experience of being inside a vehicle, a foray with the potential to forever change the showroom experience.

That said, you can imagine our excitement when VR heavyweight Oculus Rift made an announcement last week: Three years after their prototype was released, the company debuted their Rift virtual reality headset, which will be released in 2016 and is destined to make this technology more accessible by the public than ever before.

“Oculus was the first successfully funded Kickstarter that brought virtual reality to where it is now,” said Chaotic Moon BASE technologist Matthew Murray of the company and its impact on the growth and advancement of VR. “The dev kit was relatively cheap and accessible, so a community blew up around VR almost instantaneously.”

And after that initial explosion of interest in VR, it was a race to the consumer market, Murray explained—a race which, it appears, Oculus might just be winning.

“The product Oculus unveiled has a new design,” noted Murray, who’s no stranger to virtual reality and its possibilities. “It’s smoother, consumer-facing…it comes with an Xbox controller. It’s targeting the gaming community.”

(Want more detailed info on Oculus Rift? Gizmodo does a solid breakdown here.)

Gaming focus aside, it’s crucial to note that this technology and the increased potential for implementation factors into other industries and avenues as well. Oculus’ move is a big step forward for virtual reality in general, and there are seemingly endless ways it could enhance user experiences in any arena.

“There’s a big chance to use this technology for research and education purposes, to simulate a scenario for further learning or to manipulate something in a 3D space,” said Chaotic Moon lead Unity developer, Omar Khan. “Exploring space, for instance. It gives you more opportunity to find out how physics might play a part in certain aspects of space flight.”

And on another note (and a shout out to the ’90s kids): Virtual Reality could even make for a Magic School Bus-esque learning experience.

“Imagine being able to dive into the human body, to examine cancer cells from the inside and to have a 3D representation,” said Khan. “That’s the beauty of virtual reality. You don’t have to just simulate the real world; instead, you can move it up a notch.”

Stay tuned to see how we at Chaotic Moon do just that…