Imagine a scene:
You’re in your chair at home, the latest Oculus VR headset encircling your head, and you use its voice recognition feature to access Facebook.Facebook’s virtual reality newsfeed appears in front of you — a three-dimensional, horizontally-scrolling wall of cards. Each card contains a virtual experience, and much like the auto-playing videos in Facebook’s newsfeed today, each of them offers a few moments of the experience on a loop.The first card is from one friend, who uploaded a video filmed with a consumer-friendly VR camera featuring her three-year-old daughter and the family dog chasing each other in circles.
It’s cute… and not what you’re looking for.Instead of using a mouse or a finger-swipe to scroll through a flat, one-dimensional newsfeed, you lift your arm and make a swiping gesture to the left.The next experience in the queue is from your best friend, who uploaded a clip taken from his video-drone’s flight over Manhattan at dusk.
With the drone’s multiple cameras capturing three dimensional space and the VR editing software that came preinstalled on Apple’s latest desktop devices, you’re witnessing a virtual experience of the most awe-inspiring parts of its journey.You haven’t seen that friend in a few months and the flight over New York looks cool, so you go with it. You raise your arm and gesture forward with your hand.The Facebook feed slowly zooms in and suddenly, you have the sensation that you’re gliding high over lower Manhattan at its most beautiful hour.
To the left, the sun is already past the Western horizon, but darkness hasn’t overtaken dusk. In front of you, the LED lights of thousands of offices and homes are visible, glowing brightly through the windows into their hulking, sky-scraping frames.Your perspective moves steadily and smoothly over the southern edge of the Hudson River towards the buildings of the Financial District.As the drone’s flight climbs rising above the buildings, its perspective shifts and you see the flow of cars and pedestrians, illuminated by the streetlights.
The whirring of the drone is loud—dominant but not overwhelming. The view is spectacular.After circling the Freedom Tower, it’s over.Your perspective zooms out again, and the next potential experience is on display.This one is a news story from Vice, whose VR coverage of the latest protests has been excellent.
You go with that.