IFA

The Three Surreal Challenges You Have To Try In VR

I never thought I’d have an adrenaline rush during a business trip to Berlin, Germany. But that’s exactly what happened in the most unexpected of places – Messe Berlin. There I was, minding my own business, when three opportunities appeared out of “nowhere”. One: escaping dragons. Two: bungee-jumping above an active volcano. Three: crossing a snowy mountain on a fragile, wooden bridge. Thank God it all happened in VR! #realitymagic

VR is still far from becoming mainstream, but that doesn’t take away from the thrill you have when you put a good headset on. At IFA Berlin, I had the chance to try three of the most surreal experiences someone can have in virtual reality.

AVOIDING DRAGONS

The first one took me on the bottom of a cave, surrounded by dragons. One after one, they landed near me, breathing fire and watching their prey (=me) with hunger. The resolution on the Qualcomm VR 820 was so good, my heart skipped a beat. I bumped into a desk, too.

But that wasn’t all. As realistic as the demo was, I wasn’t about to leave the grounds without seeing what Samsung and ZTE had to offer.

HANGING OVER AN ACTIVE VOLCANO

samsung-gear-vr-volcano

Samsung’s Gear VR is old news by now but the show there was totally new. The idea was to do a sort of bungee-jump with the headset on. After signing an agreement that I don’t have any health issue that could put me in danger, I was led upstairs to attach all the straps and carabiners necessary. With the headset on, I was pushed and dropped a few feet from the audience below. In VR, I was hanging on for dear life as beneath me Mother Nature was showing off.

If the resolution would have been a tad better, I’d have really forgotten about the make-believe scene. As such, I wasn’t in any real danger and could have all the fun I wanted in those couple of seconds.

CROSSING A SNOWY MOUNTAIN

If the dragon adventure at Qualcomm was like a trip in GoT, the mountain crossing at ZTE was straight out of LOTR- The Pass of Caradhras (yeah, I’m a big LOTR nerd). It helped that ZTE had props like a real small bridge made out of wood and a powerful fan to recreate the winds in the northern regions.

ZTE VR

ZTE VR headset.

Supports Google Daydream

As such, I really felt the cold, the blizzard’s teeth and the wood cracking under my feet. All the visitors could see what I was going through on a monitor, laughing all the while at my unsure steps.

Bottom line: Companies went above and beyond this year at IFA. Besides simple stands with products, they offered demos and mini-shows in arenas, as well as interactive experiences like the ones I mentioned here. Believe me, people were standing in huge lines to get a chance to try VR, a sign that consumers are more ready than ever to embrace this technology. 

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