Katherine Hayton | Virtual Reality
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20 Jun / Virtual Reality

As though reality wasn’t trouble enough to be getting on with, virtual reality has now touched down in my household.

I looked into purchasing a fancy Samsung VR headset earlier in the year, and was less put off by the fancy pricetag than I was at the fact I’d need to upgrade my phone to a newer model. Something I’d done late last year, and was hoping to put off for another full year at least.

While I do love the newest gadgets, when I actually use them (and I’m talking about more than a few weeks here) transferring the information from one to another before wiping the memory clean and sending it off to be recycled and sold on to folks that I hope don’t know how to hack wiped information from a phone, makes the whole process a bit too I-can’t-be-bothered for my tastes.

So I hummed and hawed and decided to let inaction make my decision for me. I was then distracted by a new robot vacuum cleaner that may actually vacuum as opposed to sweep, and the thought of VR dropped away.

Until a few weeks ago when I was spending my time looking up things on TradeMe I can’t afford to buy, and stumbled across Cardboard.

Excellent. Finally a gadget that only costs the amount of use I’m likely to get out of it.

I actually plugged for the more expensive model, and laid down a cool $7.80 on the VR headset which came equipped with an NFC tag.

When it arrived yesterday I remembered that I did have a whole lot of unused NFC tags that I could’ve used instead of paying the extra dollar, but I’d forgotten about them because they were so 2013.

This gadget is so cool that it doesn’t even arrive with instructions for putting it together. No. It arrives with an arrangement of slots that are labelled with numbers.

A word of advice for anyone planning on assembling one of these headsets. Look at the internet. See what they should look like. Even look up a video of someone putting one together.

That’ll save you time and energy when you realise that three of the slots are labelled 6. Not to mention demonstrating which way up to put the nosepiece. Or when to apply the rubber band. And even what the hell those magnets are for.

Best of all it will quickly lead you to the conclusion that just because some of the pieces of cardboard are bent, does not mean they’re meant to be assembled with a bend in those places.

Even with these impediments it only took me an episode of Hannibal to put the whole thing together and then I was completely entranced. I loaded up the cardboard app, put the VR headset to my face, and commenced watching an exciting tale about a mouse, a hat, and the forces of nature.

It was all going quite well, and then an exciting 3D message came up on screen. I couldn’t decipher it, so I had to take the phone out of the headset.

Unfortunately, Cardboard has stopped.

REPORT OK

Never mind. I left it for a while and then tried again. I loaded up a rollercoaster app this time. Apparently it’s just like being there.

This turned out to be quite true. Except, unlike when you’re actually on a rollercoaster, when you’re fed up with feeling out of control and sick you can just abandon it by taking the VR headset away from your head. Even better, you can then hand it to your darling and let him take on the rest of the rollercoaster ride, complete with sound effects and unstable body motions.

I feel like I’ve got my $7.80 worth already.

By Katherine Hayton in Katherine Hayton's Blog

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