Consumer, Technology

Virtual Reality for Virtually Everyone

You might think virtual reality is the stuff of science fiction, but it could be closer to your living room than you think. NCC's Stephen Armstrong reports.

By Stephen Armstrong SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – in the tech savvy corners of the internet, the buzz around having virtual reality in your home has been going on for some time now.

No longer the stuff of science fiction, manufacturers like Oculus and HTC are investing heavily in V.R. research and development.

A V.R. experience replaces the viewer’s sense of space, sound and vision with created content.

This isolation of the viewer is usually achieved by wearing a headset which has a video and audio feed.

Anna Leach is a dual major in Magazine Journalism and Information Management and Technology at Syracuse University, and she’s taking a VR Storytelling class this semester.

“If an interface has been designed well,” Leach said, “It feels like you’re in a place, and we know how we interact just in our daily lives.”

This sort of viewer immersion has appeal for many media producers who want to create content with a deep emotional connection.

Cameron Spera is another student of the V.R. Storytelling class, and she’s working on a project which depicts the daily life of a female athlete who has an eating disorder.

“The impressive thing about V.R.,” Spera said, “Is that it really does allow you to step into someone else’s shoes.”

While some established content producers like the New York Times and Discovery already have virtual reality content in production, not many consumers have a dedicated V.R. device to with which to experience it.

Google’s cardboard project seeks to bridge that gap with an inexpensive cardboard viewer (around $20) which users can slot their smartphone into, and experience V.R. in that way.

Now game console manufacturer Playstation has entered the arena too with their own V.R. headset, priced around $400.

With increased focus on creating V.R. content, and V.R. headsets becoming more affordable, is seems inevitable that virtual reality may become a bigger part of our media diet in the near future.