Thursday, June 11, 2015

Today I talk Virtual Reality.

This week I was out at the Augmented World Expo. I didn't get you many pictures because unless you can see stuff in stereo - it wouldn't matter to you anyway. And honestly, I don't really find the glasses interesting enough to photograph. They all almost basically look the same to me. The content is way more important in my opinion. The glasses are just a vehicle to get there.

I've sort of had a love hate relationship with this sector starting with Google Glass. In 2013 I crapped all over it at a time when I was really going against the grain. Here. I can count on one hand how many times a company has talked me out of wanting to try their product. Google Glass was one of those companies. Even if I don't like the product - I still want to try it. How else can you talk about it if you don't?

Oculus I've changed my mind about. However, I personally don't see people wearing it, or any of these other glasses for long. They are too big, bulky and ugly. But I'm also sort of mixed because the technology holds promise, there are just very few instances where I see a real market right now. I might also be sort of extra hard on this sector because I started my career at one of the graphics companies some of these VR guys also worked at. If you are trying Oculous for the first time, it's mind blowing. But to me it's sort of pong like. The screen door effect really bothers me, and the graphics for a lot of the applications are pretty remedial. Screen door effect image here. Explanation here.

Having said that - it's real enough to cause me motion sickness which I'm super bummed about honestly. I don't ever get motion sickness.

Before the conference Mr S. and I were having a lot of conversations about Oculous. At that point I'd tried it a couple of times, but I was in a roller coaster-esk demo once and felt really affected. The first time I tried it I was fine. Mr S. had also tried it a couple of times and he didn't suffer any problems. But he had a super strong reaction to 3D where I didn't. Both of these technologies trick your brain into seeing in stereo causing the illusion of depth. I was trying to figure out how my experience could be so different than his. I'm not sure how much of the population is affected, but it must not be that uncommon because they talked about it at the conf. They think they can overcome it. I'm really not sure one way or the other. I didn't think I would be affected at all.

If you are doing a skydiving demo, maybe this is something you can overcome. But if you are taking people through a real estate demo showing property,  if a large amount of the population gets motion sickness - that is not going to work for them.

Sky diving experiences I can see people paying for. Which is why I liked this demo from Airflow Mindride. I thought roller coaster rides were a natural application for the technology. Apparently first person shooters don't work well though which I also thought would be a natural application.

Note: in the first photo the woman was calibrating the hand gestures in the demo, so she didn't have Oculus on in the first shot. I also find the nightclub lighting in demo halls sort of irritating which seems to be a "thing" right now. I don't really lug around my low light camera anymore, so my shots aren't that great.

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