Today I went to my favorite SIGGRAPH event — “Real-time live”. This is the event in which everything has to happen right now, interactively. It generally shows off the cutting edge of what can be done with a PC and a dream.
I was very happy that the grand prize was won by Birdly — which many of you have undoubtedly seen on the Web. This is that little piece by some young Swiss guys in which you strap on an Oculus Rift and lie down in a crazy robotic contraption that gives you the feeling of flying through the air like a bird, as you flap your arms while an actual fan blows air at you.
I was happy this won because of the fact that its coolness was very much connected to the fact that it was tethered to the real world. This isn’t an experience where you just put on a VR helmet and sit on a couch — you actually have to put your whole body into it.
There is something so delightful and charming about the fact that such a decidedly Victorian contraption — something that would have made perfect sense to H.G. Wells — wins the a grand prize at a Virtual Reality event in 2014.
It gives me hope for humanity.