Oculus Rift announced yesterday it is bringing out hand-held controls called Oculus Touch. There are two controllers, which are both handheld and look like an Xbox One controller cut in half with the YX buttons and joystick on one and the AB buttons and second joystick on the other.
The two controllers allow users to “pick up” items in games, such as weapons, and utilize them the same way you would in real life (you can hold up and aim a gun in VR the same way you would in real life). The controllers also vibrate when you pick something up, making it seem heavy in your hand, like you’re actually pick something up.
The controllers are definitely an up-step in the world of handhelds, and could lead to further opportunities for VR outside of gaming. For now, this tech will make Halo a lot more realistic.
To kick off, I would love to start with an experience that already has drool dripping on my shirt, or rather, a paper bib. You guessed it: it’s America’s second favorite pastime, visiting your friendly neighborhood DDS or dental professional. The experience begins in your living room, the moment an automated voice calls your home phone (yes, the one solely reserved for telemarketers) and reminds you of your inconveniently scheduled appointment in vivid stereo audio. Screen fades to black. Now, imagine yourself in a pastel waiting room with 1998’s finest art hanging on every dreary wall. The receptionist clacks away on a keyboard as the incredibly realistic hum and bubble of a sparsely populated fish tank plunges you in this most virtual of realities.
You reach for one of the magazines you would never dream of subscribing to on the side table to your right – the pages crinkled almost like dozens have turned those very pages before. You thumb through the pictures of holiday roast recipes despite it being early August. That’s when your full birth name is called. “How strange to hear my full name being called as I’ve gone by a nickname for most of my life,” you think. That’s when the real fun begins.
As you are guided back to the dentist’s chair, your heart flutters with jubilant anticipation of having someone scrape your teeth with a metal hook. Then, there you are, in the most stunning 1080p staring at slightly textured ceiling panels while an unforgiving florescent light bathes your eyes in its unnatural glow. This portion of the experience has no set time limit – which is the thrilling part. It’s just you, the ceiling, and the scraping noises. Occasionally, the dentist will ask you open-ended questions about your personal life or work, to which you play along and give your best answers with the back of your throat while your mouth hangs agape.
After dozens of thrilling minutes the dentist murmurs something about flossing more and just like that, you visit is over. You’re handed a lifelike bag with a new toothbrush in it and you are on your way. The picture within the Oculus slowly fades to black and the credits roll. You sigh and realize your first encounter with the most realistic virtual reality is over already.
With the ungodly 2 billion dollar investment in Oculus Rift (virtual fist bump, Mark Zuckerberg) closing a few weeks back, the layperson must begin to ponder Facebook’s vision for the future of the virtual world. The second the word “virtual reality” crosses someone’s lips, an explosion of fantasy lands and wild scenery instantly race to mind. For me I choose to interpret virtual reality on a more entertaining level: real, dull, everyday events but happening on two tiny screens in front of my eyeballs. With this definition, the possibilities for mediocrity truly are limitless!
Every week I will do my best to provide the most “realistic” virtual reality experiences imaginable, and lucky you, be sharing them with you, dear reader. I fully endorse all of these experiences as 100% humdrum and invite any audacious Oculus developer to take a stab at creating them. Enjoy.