Never Mind Home Headsets, I Want A Virtual Reality Playground

Nevermind Home Headsets, I Want A Virtual Reality Playground

If this ad reel for VR arcade The Void has anything to say about it, the fictional virtual reality playgrounds of the '80s are closer to fruition than ever before.

Virtual reality while sitting at a desk is nice, and I'm sure plenty of folks will flock to the Oculus Rift when it arrives early next year. But my vision of virtual reality comes from novels like Larry Niven's Dream Park, where groups of players travel to a place built specifically for such experiences. Places a lot like what Utah-based startup The Void is showing off in the demo reel below.

Instead of bringing virtual reality to the players every day environment, The Void is building arenas specifically designed for virtual reality games, with architecture in place such that when a player reaches for a control panel, they're actually touching something. When they bump into a wall, there's a wall.

According to a profile on the company and project over at Road To VR, The Void makes use of its own proprietary VR hardware, the Rapture HMD. Its features are pretty impressive.

  • Dual High-Density Curved OLED Displays (1080p per-eye, initially)
  • Quantum Dots (nearly doubling perceived resolution colour range)
  • Custom Optics (proprietary lens-in-lens design)
  • High-Quality THX Headphones (featuring in-game binaural sound design)
  • Super-Gain Inline Microphones (for in-game communications)
  • Proprietary Global Head Tracking Sensors (running at 120Hz)

Since The Void's hardware is meant strictly for commercial use, it doesn't need to adhere to a consumer-friendly price point, giving the developers much more leeway in creating immersive experiences. Coupled with a haptic feedback "Rapture Vest" and environmental effects like wind and water built into the park's facilities, players will be transported much more fully than they would sitting on their asses on the couch.

I am not excited about home-based VR technology. I imagine sitting in my living room on my couch with my face obscured and I feel silly and unsafe. Virtual reality as a destination however, is something I've been dreaming about for decades. If The Void can pull off half of what's in the ad reel, I'll be first in line should a facility open nearby.

Just be warned. If you put me in a room with other people holding a stick meant to represent a weapon, those other people are getting hit. Repeatedly.


Comments

    Like most new tech I would be insanely skeptical. Wii motes, the Playstation wands, no new apparatus has really caught my attention and has always under delivered.. Voice recognition still is not that good in most applications. Can everyone just keep your hands in your pockets, on top of your wads of disposable income before we get too excited about this.

    Road To VR should have a hands-on (body...i fin?) feature on the site shortly. Here's hoping they come back with a resounding "this rocks!"
    Although the chances of it coming to Australia on a permanent basis in the near future are fairly slIm.

    Personally, I am excited by the at-home aspect, but I do agree built-for-VR physical experiences like this are even more exciting. I've been imaging VR Arcades a little bit less involved than this by means of giant fans in front of similar-to-existing motorcycle arcade machines, and things like those self-contained virtual roller coaster pods you get at the bigger arcades, but made more immersive by VR.

    Would be cool if someone did this on a adjustable set the size of a football field or golf-course, have it all adjustable depending on what was being played. I really can't see this allowing too much space for adventuring.

      i imagine this like being laser tag for the rich kids

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