• Ashima Thomas

The Oculus Quest moment that I had to write about

Updated: Aug 22, 2019

*Spoiler alert for those who don't want to know anything before trying the instructional demo!*


I had a totally mind-blowing experience of pure joy last weekend.


It kicked off when I felt my heart jump in my chest - I could feel it beating like crazy. I let out a loud, “WOAH,” and couldn’t help the huge smile that remained plastered across my face.


The initial rush gave way to an emanating warmth that reached the tips of my fingers and toes.


I remember thinking to myself, this is the feeling of wonder that I’d only known as a kid.


In a nutshell, I danced with a robot.


It sounds ridiculous, I know. Indulge me for a minute.


Literally out of this world


Let me give you the 'Cliff Notes' version of a back story for context:


Oculus just released their most anticipated virtual reality headset to date: the Oculus Quest. There was a lot of excitement about it in the VR community because it promised a high-quality experience that allowed you to move inside and interact with virtual worlds, with nary a cable in sight, and at a price that wouldn’t break the bank.


Not a cable in sight

To the non-initiated, this may seem like just another release of another piece of hardware in an industry that rumbles along despite the hype having worn off a long time ago.


Even myself - the owner of a virtual reality company - was wondering: How good would it really be?


Well, the slow realisation that this was a game-changing product happened as soon as we took it out of the box. It’s really compact. Previous iterations of this device required wires, sensors, a powerful computer, lots of space, etc and blah blah blah. The Quest fits into a small backpack, leaving space for a laptop.


High-quality VR on the go! Cool! That is pretty impressive.


High quality VR on the go! Cool!

The Moment


I was going through the instructional intro when I was transported to a psychedelic room with party music blaring. A dustbin-like robot appeared. It had dangly limbs and a cute, friendly face. I was prompted to dance, and so I did.


The robot mimicked my moves! Right On!


Then something I didn’t expect happened. It reached out its hands as if asking me to grab hold. NO WAY, I thought. No way is it possible for me to physically dance with this being.


But when I reached out my virtual hands and squeezed the controllers, our hands grabbed hold. I squealed with joy at the connection, and so did the robot, I’m sure! Away we went, grooving, moving, twirling and having a great time.


I shared an experience, in a non-existent place, with a virtual being.


Connection.


Mind-altering.


*If you can't picture what this looks like, check out this lady with hot moves!*


What Comes Next


I read a great blog the other day that perfectly sums up how it feels to work in this business. Ingrid Kopp wrote in a Medium piece, “Working in the VR industry, I have become very used to living between perpetual hope and despair.”


Well, this experience tipped the scales far into the hope category. That single moment showed me that we’ve only just scratched the surface of the potential of virtual reality, and I'm excited to be a part of pioneering what comes next.

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