VR headsets have answered many of the prayers of total immersion enthusiasts, but not all. The Void (or The Vision of Infinite Dimensions, to give it its full, mystical name), hopes to make every gamer and gadget fan’s dreams come to life.
A commonly acknowledged problem by Oculus and Valve in their quest for VR success is space, or rather, a lack of it. Pop on a headset and you’ll see what they mean. The urge to run around is almost uncontrollable, except you can’t – you’re in a room surrounded by those rather inconvenient wall things. And running into them hurts.
The Void is an area similar to a laser tag arena which aims to strip away those walls in your house and place you in a custom-built real world environment, with walls and obstacles mapped to virtual counterparts. That means that touching a wall or a rock in the virtual world, will correspond to touching it in real life, bumping immersion up ot whole new levels.
Imagine an innocuous looking maze that, when a VR headset is donned, becomes a sci-fi battlefield on another planet. The video, at this point, can explain the basic concept better than we can, so dig in:
The Void’s plan is to construct centres around the world where, using custom-designed chambers that feature unique environments, players will be whisked away like never before.
It’s a clever solution to a complex problem – space is the kind of resource that a living room will never be able to provide in abundance. The use of physical environments prevents the VR designers from having to ‘trick’ the user into believing they are walking, running, or even touching a surface.
Plenty of other solutions to the ‘VR hole’ have been suggested, but this one gets the biggest thumbs up from us so far: it’s social, it makes an event out of VR outings, and it stands the greatest chance of fooling all of our senses.
This isn’t to say we believe everything that video is selling us quite yet – the integration of several technologies in a complex solution like this is going to be seriously tricky and there are a lot of questions to be asked about its implementation.
That said, we’re setting our status to ‘cautious optimisim’, ahead of the first Void Centre opening in Utah in 2016.