Sunday, 3 April 2016

The Oculus View

On the second day of Hometown Hockey, I was placed in my normal venue which was the Samsung trainer that featured some very cool stuff. The Situation Room presented by Samsung was entirely about the work done in the Situation Room or War Room back in Toronto to whom the officials call when they need further help on a play. Getting to see a bird's eye view of what happens in the Situation Room was pretty cool, especially when Senior Vice-President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy asks for help on a call. If you get a chance to attend Hometown Hockey next year, the Situation Room present by Samsung is one stop you have to make if you're a hockey fan! You won't be disappointed!

However, this article is all about what was seen in the second half of the trailer. The new Samsung Gear VR was on display, and it was available for visitors aged 13 and up (I'll explain more about that caveat below) to try out and use. I have never seen more adults walk out of a trailer amazed and exclaiming the incredible experiences they had like I did this weekend. Let's just say that for the vast majority of Winnipeggers, attending the Winter Classic this past January in Boston has never been so easy!

There were previous versions of the Occulus headset pictured above that were a little heavier and clunkier, but the Samsung Gear VR is a lightweight, easy-to-wear headset that works seamlessly with your Samsung S5 phone or higher. Once connected, the Samsung Gear VR downloads the required software to your phone for you, and your virtual reality experience can begin moments after that. There are a pile of games available, some videos that are 360°-enabled, and some incredible photographs that also let you look around in a full 360°. If this is the future, the future is pretty incredible!

Thanks to Jaunt, there are a pile of cinematic virtual reality pieces available for the Samsung Gear VR already including the Winter Classic virtual reality scenario that was presented in the Samsung trailer. I neither work for nor am I contracted by Samsung, but I have to admit that I was blown away by this technology. I can also state with certainty that a vast number of other Winnipeggers were as well when it came to testing out the new headwear.

Now about that 13-and-up thing, Samsung recommends that users be sitting when using the Samsung Gear VR headset. The loss of equilibrium can be very real when wearing both the headset and headphones, and the youngsters that were coming through the trailer this weekend wouldn't have been able to put their feet on the ground to ensure they maintained an upright posture. As you know, falls for younger people can be dangerous, so folks have to sign a waiver to be able to partake in the virtual reality portion of the Samsung experience. There were no falls this weekend, thankfully, but there were some people who needed to regain their bearings before getting to their feet after watching the videos. In the interest of safety, please always be seated when using the Samsung Gear VR headset!

To be honest, the Samsung Gear VR headset should be your next major phone and/or technology purchase if you already have a Samsung phone. It retails for around $100 at any major Samsung retailer, and you will be immersed in worlds that you may never have a chance to visit in person. From being in New York City at Rockefeller Plaza in Christmas to visiting Machu Picchu in the Andes to being on stage with Paul McCartney at Candlestick Park to standing in Citi Field for the National Anthem, the Samsung Gear VR is one heckuvan experience and definitely worth the $100 investment!

If they ever get live events on there, the world of attending sports will change dramatically!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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