Interstellar Oculus Rift Immersive Experience at IMAX

Taking place at the IMAX in London today Sci-Fi fans were invited to experience the first glimpse of the new Christopher Nolan film, Interstellar.

On show was a first-of-its-kind Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 (DK2), giving fans free of charge, a virtual reality trip around the spacecraft in the film. Also for the first 200 people who turned up received a special spacesuit patch, inspired by the ones worn in the film.

Virtual reality has come a long way since the days of the days of The Lawnmower Man in the early 90’s. There was a lot of hoo-har back in March when it was announced that Facebook was to buy the Oculus Rift for $2 billion. They obviously knew what the potential was, and it’s fantastic that the general public can now begin to have opportunities to experience it properly, that until now have been reserved for the software developers.

After waiting for their go, users sat down in the chair and were fitted with the Oculus Rift headset and headphones. With the headset on, you were inside the film’s spacecraft, Endurance. For the next 3 minutes you traveled around inside the craft. Temporarily inside another world completely, able to turn your head and look 360° around you. Combined with the chair moving slightly, it is very absorbing and totally immersive. Many people were reaching out to touch the objects in front of them that were seemingly there. Funny to look at from the outside, but seemingly the logical thing to do when the headset is on.

The quality of animation and CGI we expect to see on the screen these days is phenomenal, used in this scenario is great too. There is a sequence near the end where the spacecraft is rotating, at the same time, the chair slowly moves too and you get very close to experiencing the feeling of zero-gravity. Not quite, but very close considering you are just sitting in a chair.

It’s still very early days for The Rift (as it is known in tech circles) but if this is the starting point, then we are in for a lot of visual treats and trickery in the coming months and years. With the DK2 kits available to pre-order now from the pretty reasonable price of $350.00, expect experiences like this to become much more commonplace. This kind of immersive reality is a sure sign that the kind of visions depicted in the 1995 Ralph Fiennes film, Strange Days are not totally out of the question anymore. Hopefully not quite as dark though!

An additional booth will be hosted across the weekend at MCM Comic Con from Friday October 24th – Sunday October 26th. Limited tickets are still available to purchase for the Convention at www.mcmcomiccon.com/london/

The film is released in IMAX format from November 7th.

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