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Just got my oculus. I tried out the introductory demos and the 3D photos. First impressions of UX and the implications I see for the future:

What I Like:

  • Yeah, it's immersive for your eyes & ears. After you set it up, they show you various demos first to get you used to it. That demo with the T-Rex walking towards you, I felt a bit of adrenaline in my body, that was only tempered by my conscious inner adult reminding me that this isn’t real.
  • I like how they increased the intensity of the demos, from low-poly nature, to an alien atmosphere, to a real-looking environment overlooking a city from a ledge, to the T-Rex. I’m sure a lot of thought went into the order and choice of these demos that deliver the first Oculus impression.
  • I got a chance to look at the 3D photos section. The other games took too long to install. I went directly to the Germany section and looked for photos of my hometown. I hadn’t visited there since I moved to the bay. When I looked around in these photos, I REALLY started to see the implications that VR will have, and how all the technologies being developed right now will converge into unbelievable experiences over the next 5 years. For a short moment, it really felt like I was back in my home town of Mainz, Germany. The memories that were activated when being in the middle of these photos, was far more powerful than when I look at 2D photos.

Areas For Improvement:

  • The resolution is too low. The immersion/3D factor is good, but it still feels like you’re staring at the world through a shitty TV display. This will be solved automatically over the next 5 years, as 4K and super hi-res 3D-cameras become the norm.
  • Navigating through the images in the 3D image gallery was a chore. Using your head to move around a cursor and select things with your remote feels like a cop-out solution. There needs to be an easier way to navigate through files.
  • There were a lot of photos in those galleries, and it really showed how hard it is to navigate through large amounts of data with just a remote and moving your head around. There was also no way to filter photos by location or author. There were a lot of photos with no metadata, that just said “Untitled”. Adding photos to your favorites was a chore — you had to press a button on the remote, then navigate to a small heart icon, then press the remote again.
    This could be solved with good voice navigation, or more complex gestures.
  • This isn’t real “Virtual Reality”. It’s a 3D headset with headphones. It simulates two sensory stimuli pretty well — sight and sound. But you don’t see your hands. You don’t smell anything. You can’t touch anything. You can’t really move around. I wish there were some gloves I could put on that simulate tactile sensations and let me use my hands.

Future Implications:

  • Travel industry: Imagine booking a hotel or considering a travel destination, and donning your VR glasses to get an in-depth look at your hotel room or resort.
  • Sports events: Imagine a UFC VR pass that gives you action from inside the ring.
  • Travel anywhere: When I was looking at the 3D photos, I really wished that the images were moving. Once 3D Cameras and 5G connections are everywhere, I can imagine scenarios in which you put on your glasses and can just travel anywhere you want and see what’s happening there in real-time.
  • Teleconferences: Once we’ve got gloves that let us manipulate the virtual space, I can imagine teleconferences being super interesting. I’ll need to mock up what that will look like when I have more time.
  • Porn: Once robotics become more advanced, I can see there being a phase where you have VR porn on your headset and some robot masturbating you. This would be the in-between step before robots become 100% lifelike and can change appearance with programmable matter.
  • Convergence of new technologies: A lot of the technologies that are being developed right now — AI, natural language processing, 4K displays, spatial audio, 3D cameras, exponential increase in graphics processing — will lead to exciting new developments for VR.

Overall this is a good start. You really need to experience it for yourself. Once I put it on, I understood where technology will be going and how it will all fit together.

Published by: Jamal Nichols in Brands

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