The year of virtual reality is finally upon us. This week, the FELIX team tried Gear VR, Samsung’s mobile virtual reality headset.
It’s not as powerful as competitors like Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive, but it’s a decent introduction to VR for the unacquainted.
Lef Apostolakis, Science Editor
I tried a few different things. Personally theBluVR (an immersive ocean experience) resonated with me the most. As an ocean lover and free diver, the app really managed to replicate the freediving experience and I felt that it really gave me the opportunity to do a couple of my dream dives (alas only virtually). As a medium it’s really exciting to see VR being developed and tech such as Gear VR make it accessible to everyone.
Indira Mallik, Arts Editor
Ever wished you could press your nose to Gauguin’s masterpieces without being hauled off by gallery security? Well if you don’t mind being roundly mocked by everyone surrounding you IRL and the nausea inducing experience of walking places using head movements, you can do just that. My highlight? The disconcerting effect of being taller than you actually are. So this is what the world looks like for people whose bones didn’t fuse freakishly early. Technical issues (my own) aside, this is a weirdly addictive experience: you know something is worth it when the headset literally has to be snatched off your face.
Saad Ahmed, Television Editor
A little uncomfortable and some kinks to iron out but ultimately something fun, creative and damn enjoyable.
Fred Fyles, Film Editor
All new technological advances bring with them the fear that current forms of art will go out of date or become extinct; upon seeing early examples of the daguerreotype, Paul Delaroche exclaimed that “painting is dead”. I have little such fear for the impact VR will have on film. While the technological advances are interesting, the films on offer were not; I believe that it will remain nothing other than a gimmick. We will continue to watch our films in the dark, looking straight ahead, just as nature intended.
Grace Rahman, Editor-in-Chief
The general experience was headache inducing, but Lands End was cool. I don’t think it’s going to catch on in a very big way. But maybe I’ll look stupid in ten years time like when we quote people who said the internet was never going to catch on. If folks start doing this on the bus their stuff will get stolen.
Cale Tilford, Music Editor
Until recently, I saw virtual reality as part of an elusive future – one that was particularly out of reach for the majority of society. Technologies like Gear VR and Google Cardboard mean anyone (with the right sort of smartphone) can access one of the most promising new forms of media. There are problems with VR, especially if you suffer from motion sickness, but my small glimpse of another reality has me excited for the further advancements we will see in the next few years. One reality is not enough, and the games and other experiences I’ve played so far are incredibly immersive and offer interesting, and innovative, new ways of interaction.