Back in January I got the Samsung Gear VR which is one of the very first VR googles in this nascent technology. I even wrote about it in a post here. It was extremely cool and I had some fun but then considered it a bit of a novelty and put it up on the shelf.
Just this past week with my Android update, switching carriers to T-Mobile and general smartphone updating/cleaning I decided to give the Samsung Gear another look and was completely blown away. It was not the top selling games that did it for me however, I am still very ambivalent about those; it was Streetview that did it.
Most people are familiar with Google Map’s Street View function. Street View lets you see a 360 degree (all encompassing?) view as seen from the street. Well, with the Streetview app in Samsung Gear VR it is the same thing although it feels like you are actually there! Using this technology I was able to go be in the Northwestern Territories, Eastern Russia; I walked through the WWI graveyards of Gallipoli in Turkey and I wandered through the streets of Toledo, Spain where I studied in college.
I can go anywhere in the entire world from the comfort of my La-Z-Boy recliner! Not only that but it integrates with Wikipedia so I can actually read about the places I am visiting!
This is such an incredible leap forward in technology and I’m astounded that most people do not know about it: it hasn’t gone mainstream as you need to have a certain phone, ‘gear’ and such for it to work. Furthermore, I don’t think Apple has a VR product out just yet – I could be wrong but I haven’t seen any chatter at all on the internet about it. Another point could be that you cannot show what VR is like on the two dimensional screen, you have to experience it for yourself to understand.
To be honest, I do feel a bit special being a first adopter and ‘discovering’ this technology before the masses have even heard of it. I put up a video of a Streetview experience and it only got about three or so likes on FB: people just do not understand/realize what this is going to do yet. It will change everything and in ten years me writing on this laptop in the way I am might seem quaint. Twenty years from now I’ll enjoy looking back on this very post and telling myself ‘you had no idea’ as I imagine I’ll be living in virtual reality at that point.
In fact, I’ve just had a thought: I seem to be alive at the perfect time because as I get to be very old and my body doesn’t function as well I’ll have VR to turn to which by that time will have turned into something we haven’t even dreamed of yet.
But for now, I look forward to exploring the world in twenty minute increments (the phone needs to cool down) and learning about all the places I visit with this floating Wikipedia screens.
This really is an exciting time to be alive.