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The Future Is Now - Testing the Oculus

A spinning vestibular system, nausea, only 10% of my field of view, a constant question of what happened to my body, and even a transformation into a cat - that's the most drastic description one could create. However, the truth is entirely different.

Today, while running errands, it turned out that some company was running a promotion. Attention! With a simple child's touch, you could win cat food. A brilliant advertising method. But I was here for the Oculus.

Right in the middle of this promotion, as we were about to leave, I suddenly saw an Oculus sitting next to a computer with a strange screensaver. I had never seen one before, and it seemed more massive than I had imagined. At first, I thought maybe someone had left it there by accident, but as soon as I set my sights on this VR device, an exceptionally polite lady offered to let me use it. In her mind, it was supposed to simulate the view from a cat.

I, however, didn't hear a word of what the hostess was trying to convey to me. She mentioned something about voluntarily donating a liver for cat food or about high pixelation. Nonetheless, I had that unfortunate device in my hands.

Incredibly lightweight, nicely designed, not too overwhelming. In the assembly, it reminded me of a DDR-era diving mask.


I Entered VR

What happened next will either be remembered in the annals of computer science with golden letters or not at all.

I entered an artificial reality, my eyes disconnected from reality, desperately transmitting a different reality to my brain. And my brain believed it, oh, it believed it.

The "video," because that's the only way to describe it, played a pseudo-view from the eyes of a cat, moving around in various places. The sensation of movement so deceived all my senses that even muscle control compensated for the motion, making micro-adjustments (which caused laughter from my child and spouse). The vestibular system, when altering the view (WHO CAME UP WITH THIS!!! A violation of logic to rotate the view in the Oculus!), probably executed a double axel.

However, the ability to look around in this poorly crafted and low-frame-rate virtual reality detached me from reality. Hearing and balance senses completely lost to vision. Curiosity got the better of me, and if not for that artificial movement, I might have started walking on that short cable (and surely broken something) in the surrounding illusion.

I remembered that they mentioned on YouTube that there was a small field of view because the lenses are right in front of the eyes. I can confirm and deny this. I expected a binocular-like view but got an angle of about 90 degrees or maybe even more. I could move my gaze, and I never fell out because as soon as I approached the edge of the field of view, my head did its thing.

Wonderful, wonderful, and once again wonderful.

Now, it's just a matter of the interface, applications, and a few details, and the future will come crashing down on us. The next step in the future is probably a direct brain interface, and it might not even be about inputting into the brain but the other way around because limbs are a rather slow and clumsy interface. Something that will capture our speech or trained mind activations and turn them into interactions.

So, that's the end of this short, spontaneous reaction, which I absolutely had to share. Until there are practical implementations, this Oculus is more of a "toy," but it still excites and stimulates the imagination to the fullest extent. And probably, just like in some catastrophic videos, there will be a bunch of people connected to such places.

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