Welcome to my VR (=Virtual Reality) special post!

Before I start getting into way-too-many details on VR 😉 let’s see what has been happening recently around.

First of all, Russia has joined anti-terrorist fights in Syria and they are actually making a good progress there. It would be all fine and dandy if they were a bit more selective on who terrorists are and who’s not as they seem to attack all(ish) of them including groups backed and armed by the United States. That, as you can imagine, is not liked by all. Unfortunately, we don’t know what really pushed Russia to the war. Is that a need of more peace in the World or the fact that Syria’s crude oil sold on illegal markets is a factor in the world oil’s price getting lower and lower and Russia being 2nd (after Saudi Arabia) biggest world exporter is losing a lot of money they could potentially make.

…and now for something completely different.

The 88th Academy Awards ceremony called simply “Oscars” was held last night (from 12.00am UK time). For a lovely article about it go to this post made by The Washington Post. In brief, Mad Max: Fury Road got as many as 6 Oscars, which makes it the biggest winner. The best picture award went to a movie “Spotlight”. Leonardo DiCaprio has finally got his own statuette, as a best lead actor, for the movie “The Revenant”. Quite a surprise is the best original song award which went to… “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre”, music and lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith. Sam (+ many others…) was well gobsmacked. He has dedicated the Oscar to the LGBT.

Potential UK exit from EU has made quite a stir internationally. The United Kingdom European Union membership referendum will be held on 23 June 2016. Cameron’s “rather” weak deal on changes if UK to stay does not help, either. The Telegraph has prepared a very informative article on the topic. It feels like it’s all a bit too quick and random as most voters have no idea what are advantages and disadvantages of the potential exit are, nor the UK is prepared for all the changes that would have to be done if we to go our own way. One thing is for sure, if we exit, the pound will lose a lot of value which will mean way more expensive holidays abroad for us all, which may be a deal breaker 😉 More seriously, it can be years for any benefits of exiting the EU to be seen. Please don’t leave that matter to others, do your own research, have a think and go and do cast your vote as it is a BIGGIE.

In the world of smartphones, Samsung has recently announced its new flagship model(s), the Galaxy S7 (and S7 Edge). From the few but significant changes over the S6 are the microSD external card support, waterproofness, improved low-light camera (a lot!) and the larger and still fast charging battery. There is a good CPU and GPU power boost over the S6 as well. Trusted Reviews offers a rare and quite detailed review on their page.

Ok, what I was going to write about here?! Ahh, yeah, the VR!

While probably most of your family and friends spending mostly their money on booze and travels (I don’t judge, 300 days a year of clouds and or rain in places like Manchester area is not an easy thing to withstand) would call it just another bizarre gadget that no-one will use, they may be wrong this time around.

Virtual Reality has similar potential to revolutionise our lives as the computers or Internet have done. VR systems are primarily made of headsets (HMD=head-mounted display). The headsets with built-in displays have a technology to detect the head movements quickly and accurately which is used to immerse the user into the 3d environment by changing the displays’ view accordingly. The display depth can be controlled thanks to dual displays – that works like a 3d goggles you may have used in your living room or a cinema. More advanced VR sets come with extra dedicated peripherals like wireless, 3d space tracked controllers for hands and/or laser stations being able to track your whole body position. In short, the immersion can be almost total to the point one can mistake being in a room with HMD on his head for actually being in a jungle watching dangerous animals, walking on a thin line over the waterfall or being the Red Baron flying an airplane during World War 1 looking constantly around for more enemies to shot down.

Examples of VR games can be checked in the Tech Radar’s article.

So, it is all about computer gaming again? Nope.

VR will eventually allow organisations like NASA to train better their future cosmonauts, or immerse public in space worlds like with this Mars trips project.

VR will allow for even better remote surgeries and training. Interactive VR movies are already being worked on, as well. Virtual Reality can make you actually use your exercise bike as will make your journey exciting. Tourism industry can choose VR to give you a sneak peek on what to expect on the holidays they sell and car companies will try to immerse you on how it is to drive their best ever cars. Are you good in painting? How about 3d painting?

The possibilities are endless.

There are already two VR solutions that can be pre-ordered with deliveries in April or later this year. First is Oculus Rift owned by Facebook. It’s UK price is £500 (+ tax & shipping) and you will need a decent PC to run it. Another one is Vive Pre made by HTC with Steam’s co-operation. This headset is superior to the Oculus as comes with two hand controllers (3d space detection) and room scale technology allowing for full body movements being captured within your room. This full set with two full games and an application is priced £746.60 in UK including shipping and taxes. The same as the Oculus Rift, the system works with a decent Windows PC. You can check whether your rig is good enough by running the SteamVR Performance Test.

If I have managed to capture your imagination, you can read more about Virtual Reality on many web portals. Some worth mentioning are VRfocus, The Guardian’s VR section and ExtremeTech.

Thank you for reading and bloody well done! My post was not small at all this time; it was made using 1100 words in total to be precise.