Headsets like the Sega VR and Nintendo’s Virtual Boy have been around since the late 1980s, but the technology is finally coming into its own thanks to the Oculus Rift.The Rift is the result of an incredibly successful 2012 Kickstarter campaign.
A naked woman lies on her back on a mahogany bed before me, gripping her ankles by her ears.
The bed stands on a sandy beach in the shade of a palm tree. There's a fruity, synthetic smell of air-freshener – and the air conditioning is on a little too high.
This summer, a 15-person film crew flew to the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Majdanek to record the horrors of the Holocaust in virtual reality as part of an effort to preserve the memory of the atrocity for future generations.
They filmed a scene in which viewers who don a VR headset can enter a gas chamber, escorted by a three-dimensional hologram of a living survivor.
This controller is an exact replica of the rifle in the demo zombie game in the display.
It was the most popular exhibit at the event, with lines of people waiting 15 minutes to waste zombies for 60 seconds Most of those people waiting to shoot zombies did not play shooting games or zombie games. That’s impressive because only 48% of gamers are women, and few of them play shooting or zombie games: Virtual reality games have yet to catch on, but they’re getting there.
These advocates cite research that shows virtual reality can push the boundaries of empathy and influence decision-making about issues ranging from policing to the environment.
But they’re also facing new questions about the unintended consequences of an early-stage technology that may doing harm to users by putting them in situations that seem all too real.
“We don’t actually know whether it’s this empathy machine or whether, if you have an immersive experience, you traumatize your users,” said Stephen Smith, executive director of the Shoah Foundation at the University of Southern California, which is creating the Holocaust simulations in partnership with virtual reality start-ups.
It was a festival devoted to the future of technology.
Flat on her stomach; the foetal position; on her back, legs splayed.