What exactly is VR (and why should I try it)?

Virtual reality is, perhaps more than anything else out there, something that is incredibly challenging to describe. Its very nature places it outside the context of our day-to-day experiences. Here at Augmentality Labs, we try our best to explain it with words, but no matter what we say, we usually hear “that was so much cooler than I expected!” as people take off the headset and return to reality.

The Virtual Reality Society defines VR as “a three-dimensional, computer generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person. That person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment and whilst there, is able to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions.”

 The HTC Vive

The HTC Vive

This definition, you may notice, requires VR to have interactivity. Many people have experienced 360-degree videos using a Google Cardboard, or perhaps a Samsung Gear VR. While these videos are amazing in their own right, they don’t compare to the fully immersive experiences offered by the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or even the Playstation VR.  Differentiators like higher resolutions, eliminating the edges of the real world in your peripheral vision, and positionally tracked controllers, which allow full 360-degree motion and interaction within a room-scale space, are truly next-level.

 Gameplay in Superhot VR

Gameplay in Superhot VR

Put on one of the 6 HTC Vives that we have on-site, and you’ll feel an actual sense of presence in a new world. You aren’t just playing a game, you’re stepping into another world and becoming a part of that game. We’ve seen people duck under virtual desks because they’re afraid they’ll hit their head, or scream for 60 seconds straight while monsters and ghouls rush at them. Within a 30-minute session, you can explore a gorgeous snow-covered mountain top, roller-coaster your way through the brain, and defend yourself in a Matrix-like world where you control the movement of time.  It’s something that honestly must be experienced to be believed.

VR, along with its cousins augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR), is soon going to be a part of everyday life: it’s already being used in applications across varied industries for training, advertising, music, art, and exercise, to name just a few. Some predict that VR, AR, and MR devices will soon be as ubiquitous as the smartphone is today. Gaming is just the beginning, and we’re excited to be exposing people to the technology’s potential every single day. Come on in to give it a try!