VIDEO: Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset hands-on test

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It was such a strange experience.

After years of getting used to gaming and watching TV on ever larger screens, my first foray into Virtual Reality was an odd feeling, writes Alex Evans.

Gadget Show Live 2015 Alex Evans with VR headset Oculus

Gadget Show Live 2015 Alex Evans with VR headset Oculus

The technology promises to be the next big thing, and in a few years time we will all be wearing these slightly gaudy-looking goggles and venturing off into our own little worlds. I got hands-on with Oculus Rift, the Facebook-owned VR headset. Simply put: I was blown away.

VR puts a 3D screen right in front of your eyes. Although the screen is only a few inches wide, the creators of Virtual Reality say the experience is more like watching a 120 inch TV, because the image is so surrounding.

I disagree. The image is nothing like watching TV. It’s like being there in person.

For the brief hands-on, I found myself wandering around a room using an Xbox 360 controller on a demo hooked up to a PC. The demonstration was very minimal - it was basically just wandering around a horror-room scene, with a patient looking unwell on the operating table. But what struck me was the sheer reality of it all. Using the controller’s analogue sticks to move, the experience was so like walking around a real room, I actually felt a little bit sick from the experience.

It was a weird feeling - your brain is genuinely convinced that you’re walking around this room. But your legs tell you you’re not.

That’s one challenge that creators of Virtual Reality experiences are going to need to overcome, but the tech is full of promise.

It’s not just Facebook making strides with VR. Sony is working on its own headset called Project Morpheus. That will work with its mega-successful PS4 console and should provide a first person view for upcoming games like Gran Turismo 7 and Uncharted 4.

HTC is also working on a set backed by PC software giant Steam which will track your position in a room with cameras, while Samsung is making its own GearVR which works with its latest Galaxy phones.

Whoever wins out in the big VR battle, one thing is for sure: VR is the future and the market is set to explode.

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