For those of you who are very young or not so into sci-fi, the name Oztron was inspired by Tron, a 1982 movie where a computer programmer is sucked into his computer and needed to interact with the virtual world to escape.

The first time I tried to build a virtual world was back in 1999, when I attempted to build a virtual nightclub using VRML, or virtual reality modeling language.  It was way beyond me and I ended up building a somewhat less interactive online environment using flash.

In 2005 I discovered Second Life, which finally made building virtual worlds possible.  It continues to this day, however truly immersive one’s self requires quite a vivid imagination.

Throughout this time there were several VR headsets from companies like Nvidia, but they were very expensive and had a small field of view, and their use was mainly confined to university and software company laboratories.

For those of you who haven’t yet tried one, a VR headset is basically a big pair of goggles with a screen or screens where you are looking.  Put them on and you leave reality and enter ‘virtual reality.’

In 2012 the Oculus Rift came into being.  This headset, although quite clunky and low resolution, was affordable, and finally allowed the user to immerse themselves in virtual environments.  The technology was not perfect but it inspired development which is still increasing exponentially.  Oculus was bought by Facebook for $2 billion USD, which might seem like a lot.  Well, it is a lot – but try VR just once and you will understand why.

Next month, November 2015, the first consumer version VR headset will be released, the GearVR.  The GearVR is designed to work by using Samsung flagship phones, such as the Note and S series.

‘Innovator’ versions of this headset are already available in Samsung stores in Australia – they are compatible with the Note 4 and S6 and provide the smoothest and most impressive introduction to virtual reality currently available.

But now for the exciting part – over the coming months many more VR headsets will be released for the average consumer.  These headsets are more high powered than the GearVR.

  • Oculus CV1, now backed by Facebook – available Q1 2016 (requires PC)
  • HTC Vive, a collaboration between HTC and Valve Corporation – available Xmas 2015, full release Q1 2016 (requires PC)
  • Project Morpheus, a Playstation compatible headset developed by Sony – available Q1 2016 (requires PS4)
  • Microsoft Hololens, combining virtual reality with augmented reality – developer version available Q1 2016 (requires PC)

The world as we know it is about to change.  For the better?  Yes, absolutely!

Imagine being able to attend any event in the world, live.

Imagine being able to travel without leaving your lounge room.

Imagine not just watching a movie, but being one of the characters in it.

VR is going to be to television what television was to radio and photographs.

If you haven’t tried it – give us a call and I am happy to come and show you the GearVR.   It’s an experience you won’t forget.

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