Virtual Reality is a simulated environment that can simulate the physical presence in places in the real world or imagined worlds. Most virtual reality environments are visual experiences displayed through a stereoscopic display, very much like a pair of glasses. This can be combined with a set of speakers or even headphones for sound as well.

Oculus Rift started out as a new way for people to view the games they are playing. Virtual Reality has been around for a good number of years. But the Rift is the first time we will see VR is the home as a decent quality system. When the Oculus Rift was first announced, it was going to be primarily for gaming. Imagine playing Call of Duty wearing it – rather than having an analogue stick to control head and other movements and weapon, the Oculus Rift recognises your movement and does it all for you.

It was the future of gaming right there. However, since then other manufacturers and companies want to get in on the Rift. Production company Atlantic want to make the David Attenborough series Conquest Of The Skies compatible for 360-degree viewing by using the new headset. It’s not clear how the show will be distributed to Oculus Rift owners, but the 3D version will be broadcasting on Sky in the future.

Facebook purchased the company behind the virtual reality headset for US$2 billion. It’s clear that there is huge potential for the device beyond its gaming origins.

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Stef Murphy

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