Oculus seem to have ticked all the boxes with their upcoming consumer release: a better resolution screen, horizontal adjustable lenses and - finally - the introduction of integrated earphones. Sound is key to a well-rounded immersive experience, so it's good to see audio provision as standard.
The most interesting development is the new Touch Controllers. By combining the classic analogue stick with trigger and hand wraparound sensors, the touch controllers mean users can bring their own hand gestures into the virtual space.
Although we're yet to see a live demo, if they do what they say they do, Oculus will turn VR into a truly immersive experience. Until now, VR has transported a user's head to a new environment but has ignored the rest of the body. Being able to see your own hands changes the game. Although hand integration has been previously trialed via experimental collaborations between Oculus and LEAP Motion, the results were by no means consumer ready.
At present VR doesn't lend itself well to experiences that allow users to select different routes. We've used Xbox controllers and the touchpad on the Samsung Gear headset. But you still find users struggling to navigate at speed. Using a controller that's now visible within the environment should make the whole experience far more intuitive.
Last year we created a campaign for BA where we transported people from European train stations to one of three dream locations in the US. Every person put their arms out to steady themselves in the new environment. It would be incredible to see your own hands appear in the space at the same time. It would make the whole experience feel 100% more real.
Jay Young was account manager on Projection Artworks' BA Oculus project.
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