There was a time when VR was the next step in the way humans would interact with a computer, and then it became an entertainment gimmick, relegated to sit with other failed entertainment gadgets that no one has a use for (paging Aibo).
But VR appears to be back, with Oculus leading the way and Samsung joining forces with the VR heavy company to make something truly innovative for the mobile entertainment market.
It’s called “Gear VR,” and for Samsung, it’s an attempt to make your mobile phone more than just your go-to gadget for phone calls, texting, emails, calendar, and the works, with Gear VR quite literally making it your world.
“It’s an experience no one ever wants to miss out on,” said Steve Zagari, Samsung’s Steve Zagari, pictured below.
The gadget is similar to some of the headsets we’ve seen in the past, with a headset contraption that you will understandably wear on your head and see other worlds inside.
But unlike other currently commercially available headsets, the Gear VR includes a head tracker, tacking advantage of sensors to let you look around the 3D world.
It’s also a little different from other headsets because it doesn’t use its own screen, relying instead on your own screen brought with you from your phone.
That’s quite a logical step when you think about it, as if you store movies on your phone to watch on the plane or the bus, you can opt instead to watch them in a headset by connecting the phone to the headset and viewing them there.
When you connect the phone to the headset, it’s not like you’re throwing a screen next to your eyes. That would be silly, and not at all accurate.
Rather, there are two lenses with focal adjustment provided on the unit, making it possible for your eyes to focus on the screen and emulating the feel of either a massive screen in front of you, or complete immersion in a world.
At the launch this week, we tested two of the demos, with one being a cinema showing a movie trailer, and the other being local content of sitting in water and being consumed by a shark.
Yes, we know what we wrote/said.
For the cinema demo, this isn’t just a movie in your face. No, this is a movie theatre, with leather seats around you complete with cupholders, the tacky stucco ceiling boards and old air conditioning events, the light flickering of a movie projector behind you, and the glow of the movie screen up ahead even as it throws extra light onto the floor, almost as if you were there.