As I have written before, technology seems to be getting better at a terrifying rate. While there are many examples, by far my favorite is the Oculus Rift. The Oculus Rift is an virtual reality simulator specifically for video games. The Rift has movement and gyroscopic sensors that can sense when your head moves to look up, down, left, right and every direction in between.
According to the above video, the Rift's creator, Palmer Luckey, created the Rift from his own love of gaming and wanting it to be more immersive and realistic. He looked around for a good gaming virtual reality headset and found very expensive headsets with a tiny field-of-view. He then set out on his own to create his very own headset. Once he had completed a prototype, he sent it out to a few interested game companies. Every company has called it easily the greatest consumer virtual reality headset ever created. The site for the Rift is here.
On August 1st, 2012, the Rift went on Kickstarter to receive funds for the Rift. They only asked for $250,000 and passed that even before their first full day on Kickstarter. The Rift had gained $2,437,429 in donations from people who just want to see the Rift be completed and sent out to the public. Pre-orders for the developer kit are currently available, and the consumer version will be ready sometime in 2013. The link to their Kickstarter page is here.
How will the Rift actually affect people's lives in the future? Will we just end up living in small rooms and live our lives through the Rift? While these questions can't be answered yet, I believe that this technology will change many aspects of people's day-to-day free time activities.
The Rift is an amazing piece of technology that is made by the right type of person. If a large gaming company created the Rift, it would be like the Kinect for the Xbox, an expense add-on that wouldn't have the passion of a man who cared about it. Palmer Luckey is, in my opinion, the perfect person to created the Rift because he had a passion and a dream to create a piece of technology that could make gaming feel real. He set out to make a headset that could do that.
There are already two games that have been created or re-done to be compatible with the Oculus Rift. Both games have a large audience that can be used for feedback on what else can be improved on the Rift. I am immensely excited for the Rift and I wish Palmer Luckey the best of luck with the production and distribution of the Rift.
Correction notice: An earlier version of this story used the term "augmented reality" to refer to "virtual reality." This has been updated.