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May 8, 2014

Emakina at work with Oculus Rift

Posted by Luc Malcorps

All eyes are on Oculus Rift!

Facebook recently made another splash in the virtual reality business with its $2.2b Oculus takeover. The social media giant said it would build on Oculus’s technology, particularly its virtual reality headset aimed at gamers. It would also seek to develop the technology for other areas such as communications, education, and entertainment.


Oculus Rift, what’s that all about?

We asked Michaël Totta (MTO), Head of Emakina/Applications.

‘We are already developing our first applications specifically for Oculus. And I must say, this immersive virtual reality technology truly offers an impressive experience. At CES in Las Vegas in January it was hailed as a breakthrough, and now we are working on it, I can fully agree. You feel like you’re diving into a virtual 3D universe, with real 360° vision and this sensation is confirmed every time you move your head.

Emakina is creating first projects for some clients… So if you too want to imagine how it can be part of your communication experience, let’s meet so you can ‘feel for real’ what is possible!

Oculus has nothing to do with Google Glass, by the way. That offers information on top of your real view in the real world. Here you enter a completely different reality. And this virtual world can be anywhere, in the real world or in an imaginary landscape, in a galaxy far far away, in the jungle of Brazil or in the nucleus of a cell.’

So is Oculus all that hot?

‘It’s even hotter than you think.
The visual impact of these ‘immersive goggles’ is so real and so overwhelming that it takes your breath away. It is a really captivating experience, like diving into a different world. The second version is even more realistic. It not only creates an 3D world, but brings it to you in high definition, thanks to the OLED screen.

Oculus delivers impressive high impact sensations in the gaming sphere. Even without adding sound effects, you really are inside a rollercoster! The 3D virtual ride is already available now. And the visual stimuli are so strong they really fool your brain to think the experience is 100% real.’

But is this just a fun gadget for kicks seeking gamers?

Oculus has the potential to change the way we play, work and communicate.
So, better think again. It offers a whole new world of opportunities up for our clients.

A fun and gaming experience can now become fully immersive and be adapted to the identity of a brand or an organisation. Sponsored experiences from sports to discovery trips, from races to gaming challenges within the universe of a client… there are no more limits to what we can create!’

It can also be a ‘serious gaming’ application. Our Emakina team is thinking of various scenario’s, like learning security measures, training to move objects or even managing more complex automation processes.

Another interesting consequence of being able to film in 3D is that it allows you to discover and move around various environments. NASA’s virtual Mars visit using Oculus already lets you experience what is is like to move around on the red planet.’

So the experience goes beyond passive viewing?

‘The Emakina team is experimenting with a range of motion captors. The idea is that you not only see but also move inside this fully immersive 3D space. Creating a link for instance with a racing simulation seat like the Playseat or with the Myo gesture control armband or a Kinect set can integrate movement, arm and hand use in the immersion experience.

The next step then is to imagine multi gamer situations where you share the experience with other people. And that do not need to be only war games and first shooter violent action…’

Where is the limit to this development?

‘There are hardly any limits. The Norwegian Army is testing Oculus for its tanks, and you can really fly like an eagle with the Oculus, as Birdly shows at Zurich University!

A practical minor ‘handicap’ however is that you are wearing a mask on you face. So there is a physical limit to your experience. But it still is like a rebirth of the myth of ‘Second Life’.

The limit then is the reach of our imagination.
And our sense of social and ethical codes.

Like parents now ask their children to stop using their smart phone while talking to people in the room, soon ‘take that mask off’ could well become a battle cry for parents across the globe.

‘The Matrix’, ‘Naked Lunch’, ‘Avatar’ and ‘Inception’ all required a complex process to enter the virtual world; Oculus in comparison is easy. And you can connect it to any environment and a vast range of already existing tools. So it can quickly generate a vast universe of possibilities.’

Are you ready to enter into the new dimension?

Anything is possible, from a really immersive grand tour around the Monaco Formula 1 race track at full speed, over discovering the planets and deep space to floating inside a human cell, or flying like an eagle across the Grand Canyon.

Like the 90 year-old grandmother says in the video ‘It’s like magic! This is wonderful!’



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