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What virtual reality goggles feel like: a firsthand account

  • Opinion
  • May 19, 2015
  • Elly Strang
What virtual reality goggles feel like: a firsthand account

Step one is to whisper the magic word in a sales guy’s ear, and then you sit down at a desk (trust me, you need to be sitting down for this, not standing) and don a set of goggles with a Samsung S6 phone slotted in the front.

OK, so you look like you’ve gone back to that time in kindergarten when you made a Star Wars mask out of a cardboard box, but who cares about being a nerd.

You feel the same sense of awe as you did as a kid with a brand new, shiny toy.

I don’t consider myself a geek by any means, but I was geeking out. It’s pure, unadulterated fun as the screen turns on and the real world switches off from around you.

First I was Iron Man in the Avengers, able to glance down at my bulky, iron arms and a crew of superheroes around me.

I revelled in my newfound role as a badass, but the scene quickly changed before I got used to it.

I was out by a satellite in space, casually looking back at earth.

Then I was in a more everyday situation, seated in a dimly lit movie cinema watching a movie.

I could see rows of empty seats around me and if I cared to crane my neck around, I could even see the projector at the back of the theatre.

That threw me, as did the Noel Leeming sales assistant chatting to me. How could I be simultaneously be experiencing two environments at once?

I followed my urges, turning around to explore the movie theatre, reaching out to grab the arm of the seat beside me.

Whoops, I almost grabbed the poor sales assistant’s hand instead.

It’s easy to see why disorientated first-time users hilariously flail around, bump into things, get nauseous and even let out a guttural scream if someone so much as pushes them (skip to 1.25 in the video below).

Sure, virtual reality purists might tell you this isn’t the legitimate, real deal, like the Oculus Rift. It’s Oculus software through a Samsung phone. And it’s not high definition, so you can’t fully suspend your disbelief.

But it comes pretty damn close. It’s surreal and I will happily be the girl donning the alien-looking goggles again.

I can’t wait to see where this virtual reality software goes next, and when other senses get incorporated into it (hearing, touch, smell and even taste) it’ll be madness.

To find out more about the launch of the Samsung Gear VR goggles and the future of virtual reality products in retail, read more here.

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