Oculus Rift may have been bought by Facebook, making its future unclear, but that hasn't stopped new experiences being created with and for the virtual reality headset. One of which was on display at the Flux Innovation Lounge organised by Engage Productions in east London, so we strapped on an Oculus Rift and went deep-sea diving for a genuinely shocking experience.
The Oculus Rift deep-sea diving demo was created by Masters of Pie as a means to show off what can be done with the power of the 360-degree display, and we have to say that it was surprising.
With headphones and the Oculus Rift firmly in place we were submerged in an aquatic world, looking up at our virtual boat floating above. From there a guide told us where to look helping us catch sight of small coloured fish dashing by, near enough to touch – if they were real.
We were then told to look to the right after a "big radar signal" was picked up. We watched as a manta ray approached and passed. As we looked up and down the creature our head-torch illuminated its smooth side. Then a huge whale approached from the rear giving us a genuine sense of awe that makes us realise this experience in real life must be pretty scary. Just then, before we could relax, the radio blared, "Shark!"
We looked in front again to the open jaws of a shark – before everything went black.
While the video was created to show the possible uses of Oculus Rift, it literally opened our eyes to how much more immersive this can be in preference to TV. Despite this demo being less than high quality, in terms of CGI, it felt more emotionally affective than the highest resolution film or game seen on a flat screen.
How any of this will translate to social media now that Facebook owns Oculus Rift is unclear. Perhaps your next holiday video can be shot on a special camera that will let you upload it for others to experience through Oculus Rift. A pretty exciting thought and a new hardware extra for mobile manufacturers to cram into their next smartphones, perhaps.