The arrival of VR hand controllers has led to a rash of virtual reality shooter games so we were pleasantly surprised to find something different on the Computex show floor this year.
Revresh offered us a try of its ParaParachute VR skydiving experience, hosted by Cooler Master on its stand. And it was amazing.
Users are strapped into a harness and leg loops, then given the hand loops for their parachute. Next comes the the Oculus Rift and you're ready.
The VR experience starts in a plane and as the hatch opens up before you, you’re pulled up into the air in the real world, so you are horizontal in the harness after you "jump". Talk about an immersive experience!
As you open up your parachute you become more or less vertical again but you’re still floating in real world.
Freefalling in a VR world
Back in your VR freefall there are some circles to try to navigate yourself through using the hand straps, a bit like Nintendo classic Pilot Wings only much more realistic.
If you’re successful you’ll manage to land comfortably in the city stadium. However, if you’re more like us, you’ll be so busy enjoying the view and generally inept at steering a parachute that you’ll miss all the circles and instead find yourself flying over the city.
We tried to aim for a nice patch of grass in a park near the dockyard. As it became apparent that wasn’t going to pan out, we decided to try landing in the water instead. One of the guys running the experience asked where we were aiming for: "The sea," we barked.
"Your feet will get wet," he replied.
And you know what? They did. The cheeky monkeys sloshed some water over our feet as we landed.
You’d imagine that something like this had a whole wad of cash and a big name behind it. Amazingly though, ParaParachute was born of a university course project. Eward Hage and Kevin Derksen, second year students at HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, came up with the idea and enlisted the help of five other friends to make it reality, even though they were initially told it was too complex to work.
The personable duo are still making their way through their third year at uni in Holland while juggling the demands of their startup Revresh, but unsurprisingly they wowed their tutors and got top marks for the project.
If you fancy something a bit different for your corporate event or festival, ParaParachute is available for rent. It will set you back a pretty penny though - around 10,000 euros. You can contact Revresh through its website to find out more.
If you do see it at a show in the near future, we thoroughly recommend you have a go.