Virtual reality goggles let you simulate skydiving — without falling from the sky

Virtual reality goggles let you simulate skydiving — without falling from the sky
Dan “Vaecon” Borenstein

Dan Borenstein tries SkyDIEving with the Oculus Rift.

Dan Borenstein with Oculus Rift
Dan Borenstein

Dan Borenstein with Oculus Rift

An 18-year-old college student has created a video demonstrating a cool skydiving demo with the Oculus Rift. The video shows how creative developers are becoming with their prototypes of virtual reality goggles from Oculus VR, which has raised a lot of money to make virtual reality the next frontier in gaming. It looks like VR’s comeback might have to do with enabling you to do things you can’t, or won’t do, in real life.

Dan Borenstein of New York told GamesBeat in an interview that he created the video and skydiving rig on a lark, after he saw the cool SkyDIEving demo created by developer nDreams. He said he had friends who enjoyed going skydiving, but he never wanted to try it himself in case his parachute didn’t work. So he hung a harness from a tree and set it up so he could bounce 15 feet off the ground. He stabilized the harness by tying a rope to another tree.

Oculus Rift, which has been shipping as a developer platform for a few months now, is drawing a big community of developers – including id Software’s tech guru John Carmack, who has joined Irvine, Calif.-based Oculus VR full-time.

Borenstein said that the demo gave him that “stomach dropping” feeling and he was queasy afterward. He wasn’t sure if the virtual reality goggles made him queasy, or the sensation of bouncing up and down in mid-air. He made the rig even more realistic by turning on a giant fan underneath him. (That was too loud to record the demo though, so he didn’t film with it). With the goggles on, he could see just a single, 3D image. But when you record the images, you see the dual images that appear in the video.

Borenstein, an 18-year-old computer science student who goes by the name Vaecon on YouTube, bought two developer kits and has been experimenting with them. He shot the video with his friend Michael Forster and posted it on Thursday. Within a day, the YouTube video has gotten more than 10,000 views.

“I’ve been thinking of things that I would never do and figuring how to do them in virtual reality,” he said. “It feels lot more real and immersive if you do it with the goggles.”

But Borenstein said there are limits. He calibrates the google to make sure he doesn’t get seasick, and he takes Dramamine as a precaution.

“It’s an awesome experience,” he said. “I can’t say I would want to do a long session of gaming, but in terms of immersion, this is fun.”

Filed under: Business, Games



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