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Trying out the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset

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This week on Architect This City is turning out to have a big focus on technology. And it’s not going to stop today, because this evening I had the chance to try the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset for the first time (many thanks to Dave Payne of Invent Dev for the demo). As a reminder, Oculus is the company that Facebook recently acquired for $2 billion.

Now virtual reality certainly isn’t a new idea and lots of people have been promising – for a long time – that it was going to revolutionize the world. Which may be why I had somewhat low expectations going into this. But I have to say that I was blown away. Despite being a bit choppy (to get good visuals it ran at around 15 frames per second), I was shocked at how immersive the experience was.

Here’s a picture of Rick exploring the (virtual) space behind him:

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It was actually really strange watching somebody move around as they explored another world. The demo that Dave showed us was of an apartment suite. You could walk around the living room. Turn around and see the front door. Walk up to the window and admire the view outside. It was incredible, but somewhat scary at the same time.

Obviously there are ton of potential use cases for this. I’m imagining a buyer touring a condo suite and picking their finishes before it’s even built. I’m imagining an architect designing a building in 1:1 scale by waving their hands around in a virtual world. I’m imagining “traveling” to a beach to treat seasonal affective disorder. And the list goes on.

This isn’t going to happen overnight. I actually got a bit nauseous because of how choppy the video got at times. But I can certainly see the potential. Virtual reality is coming. It’s clearly the future of gaming. And I’m sure it’ll get applied to many other areas of the economy. I guess that’s why Facebook bought these guys for $2 billion.

If you have an interest or need in the 3D visualization space, I would encourage you to reach out to Dave at Invent Dev. He’s super passionate about the work that he’s doing and is looking to collaborate with more people in the design and real estate spaces. Thanks again Dave.

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