Yes, Facebook bought Oculus VR for US$2 billion. And yes, the internet’s collective fanboy army is outraged. But as we mentioned before, the widely-scorned deal is actually a good thing. And not just for gamers.
The Rift opens up a world with limitless possibilities, and they don’t have to involve shooting zombies or casting magical spells.
Here’s a glimpse into the tantalising non-gaming future the Rift can open up to us all:
Gender swapping (without the mess)
We’ve all thought about living as the opposite sex for one day at least, and the Rift has the power to let you step into the shoes of your anti-gender, minus any irreversible surgery or clichéd Hollywood magic.
BeAnotherLab has taken the first step by getting couples to mirror their body movements while simultaneously wearing an Oculus Rift with the video feeds switched over. The overall effect is that each person sees their partner’s point of view, producing a body swapping experience.
And we don’t have to stick to humans either. Imagine being your cat for a day – after we’ve stepped into Señor Padfoot’s paws, we might finally understand why he insists on emptying his bowels directly outside the litter tray every morning without fail.
The ultimate holiday – hiking on Mars
Coupled with Kinect and the Vitruix Omni treadmill, members of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory were able to ‘walk on Mars’ after creating a virtual Martian landscape from photos shot by the Curiosity rover.
It’s not too difficult to imagine a future in which you can go on holiday on other planets, or even visit locations thousands of miles away here on earth.
Throw in a scented air diffuser which pumps out a mix of smells ranging from chlorine to suncream, and your dream beach holiday could be just a few clicks away. Minus the sunburn of course and screaming children of course.
Train with your idols
Train with the England rugby team they said. It’ll build character they said. Two busted knees and one hernia later, we strongly regret ever agreeing.
If only we waited for O2’s made-for-Oculus-Rift ‘Wear the Rose’ video to debut. Filmed from the perspective of an England rugby player, you’ll live through all the on-pitch thrills without the pesky side effect of urinating blood for a week.
The thought of training with our sports idols is making us feel rather giddy. If someone fancies converting Nike’s excellent first person commercial above for the Oculus Rift then let us know. We’ll be the first ones rushing out of the changing room doors.
The future could see surgeons performing extremely delicate operations remotely, using robotic instruments guided by virtual reality vision.
A Rift-compatible version of Surgeon Simulator already exists for budding young slicers to get plenty of practice in before they earn their surgeon gloves. Though we’re praying that the real life implementation will be a lot less… disastrous than Valve’s crazy blood-fest.
Courtside streets, every time
Imagine being in the front row for your favourite games or West End shows. Sure you can catch the big games on TV, but nothing can quite match up to the sticky floors and pungent whiffs of sweat from a real game. From Wimbledon to pitch-side at Wembley, fan avatars could virtually host your own first person experience.
Let’s just hope they remember to turn off the cameras when they’re in the toilets at half time eh?