Who Are These Masked Marauders????
The Sunnyside Tech Group has a new Virtual Reality headset. Some of our first residents to “volunteer” (only marginal duress applied) to try them out had a great time. After about 30 min to an hour of practice, everyone began to get the hang of it. Though the experience was uniformly positive, it is clear that there is a bit of a learning curve for a new piece of technology like this. Learning occurred on the part of the ‘student’, and maybe even more on the part of the ‘teacher’.
Getting started has two parts. First, If you’ve ever used hand controls – joy sticks, buttons, triggers – to play a game or fly a model airplane, you’re part way there! If not, you’ll have a member of the Tech Group there to help you get familiar with the hand controllers for each hand. And fortunately, you can participate in a significant majority of the applications that we might use at Sunnyside with little more than moving your wrist and squeezing a trigger.
The second step is to put on the headset. There are straps on each side and on the top to allow you to position it in front of your eyes and snug it up till it is stable, but yet comfortable. Because it feels different, many folk have an initial sense that it is heavy, but once you are accustomed to it, it isn’t noticeable. Now you are an” official” Masked Marauder!
Once you are suited up, there is a fun introductory/practice application to make you familiar with working in a virtual space. You quickly learn how to point with the controllers and to push buttons. From there, you graduate to picking up and moving blocks, flying paper airplanes, and using a ping pong paddle and ball. Next there are some ‘virtual cartridges’ (think 8-track player!!!!) that you pick up and put in a virtual player.
And that opens up some new applications to try. One is target shooting to make you comfortable pointing and clicking and dealing with things moving around in your virtual world. Another is a chance to ‘dance’ with a virtual robot (very cute according to Mary Yarnell) to get used to movement.
After 20-30 minutes of introductory practice, you are ready to begin exploring. There are a wide variety of applications including travel (very nice trip to the International Space Station; trips to the Galapagos, Antarctica, deep in the ocean); sports (many, including skydiving); active experiences such as dancing; and many more. You can also watch movies – it can play Netflix movies, but you have a very nice, large curved screen.