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My first virtual reality experience

Our writer went on a virtual trip with the Samsung VR Gear during the PC Show last week!

Celestia De Roza


Published: 12 June 2015, 3:01 PM

Last Friday, I had a sneak preview of the PC Show 2015, Singapore’s longest running showcase of information technology (IT) and consumer electronics, before the event was swarmed by the public.

Among the many tech gadgets that were displayed, one particular product caught my eye. It was the new Samsung VR Gear, an awesome virtual reality gaming device that uses a Samsung S6 phone to give you a virtual experience.

 

A close-up of the Samsung VR gear fitted with a Samsung S6 smartphone

 

I was lucky enough to get a hands-on experience with the device at Samsung’s VR Gear booth, which was decked in futuristic furniture. Just one hour after the PC Show opened, the booth attracted two snaking queues—they were probably curious about the device and the models clad in white.

 

This is how you look like when you use the Samsung VR gear

 

Powered by Oculus, the Samsung VR Gear promotes itself as a revolutionary technology that turns your average smartphone into a virtual reality gaming device. By simply clipping on your smartphone to the device, you can expect an immersive gaming or movie experience instantly.

The device, which features a soft frame, wrapped itself around my head comfortably, giving me a mesmerising visual experience.

Thanks to the smartphone’s high resolution and 96-degree wide field of view, I could watch movie files in a theatre-like environment. The space game demo I played was well defined, and it interacted with every turn of my head.

This device is not the first product to boast the idea of transporting a user into another world, though. Made by the same developers, the Rift has been around since 2012, and its multiple functions and flexible nature allow users to engage in all sorts of activities.

 

Fancy playing a game of Grand Theft Auto 4 in VR?
Photo credit: oculusrift-blog.com

 

With the Rift, users could “run” and “shoot” in a fast paced sandbox world, or enjoy a leisurely “glide” while lying comfortably on their beds.

However, the exciting experience left me slightly alienated from external events, and I felt uncomfortable at times. The device might offer a spectacular and immersive experience, but will it make users too comfortable with the idea of being disconnected from the real world?

On the flipside, it is great to know that these virtual reality gaming devices are more accessible to the public, and not restricted to tech geeks with deep pockets. Its affordable price of S$199 allows more users to have a taste of the virtual world too.

By incorporating this technology into a mobile phone, the VR gear is more portable than its older cousin – the Rift – which requires a computer or a game console to function. The affordable price and mobility also makes the Samsung VR Gear ready for the mass market. Who knows, the usage of VR devices could be prevalent in the future!

Although the notion of losing touch with reality scares me, the VR Gear is definitely a milestone in the development of virtual reality.

What do you think? Would you take a bold trip into the “future” with these devices?


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