Saturday, July 30, 2016

Third Event Blog

Me in the Nvidia VR demo lab
For my third event blog I had the opportunity to demo one of the leading brands in virtual technology, the HTC Vive. The demo was set up at my work where I currently hold an internship as  a software quality assurance intern. It was my first experience with virtual reality and my expectations were blown away. When I first put the goggles on I was put in a field that was set as the default environment. Once my friend selected the carnival demo I was put into a blue cube with square cross sections, and the demo began to load. This carnival demo featured several games like whack-a-mole, water gun shooting, gun shooting to pop a balloon, typical carnival games. Another demo that I got to try was the Tilt Brush, which was probably my favourite. It was surreal being able to draw things in air and be able to walk around the things that I drew.

Me in a cardboard cut-out of the Nvidia CEO
at his house party
The HTC Vive and controllers

What really amazed me with the VR demo was how real everything seemed to be. It wasn't as obviously fake as I thought it would be that I was in a virtual reality. If I let myself sink into the environment I really could have believed that it was real. One of the reasons for this was the tactile feedback in the controllers whenever I interacted with an object. Another was the Nvidia powered physics engines that create amazing effects in the physics of a balloon popping, in the hair of the whack-a-mole game, and the shattering of glass plates. Everything moved and exploded just as you would expect and see in real life. In order to make such a real environment VR needs the amazingly life-like features that an art physics engine can provide.

This interests me a lot because we learned in one of the lectures about a scientist that experimented with inverting goggles that invert the world around the user. The most amazing findings of this scientist was that even after a month of wearing the goggles, once taken off the user's brain is able to re-configure itself to the "real" environment. This amazes me because the VR world is so real, it's not too unbelievable to think that one day in the future the technology will get so good that it will be indistinguishable from real life, and maybe even fully consume some users.

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