For quite sometime, Oculus Rift has been a center of excitement for video game lovers. But YouVisit, an online company that specializes in college tours, has taken it to the next level. It has designed Oculus Rift tours of five colleges including Yale University.
Mark Dunn, the Yale’s director of outreach and recruitment said he finds Oculus Rift’s futuristic technological experience fitting perfectly with Yale’s campus even though the combination seemed strange.
Oculus Rift will be great for recruiting events and for high school students and their parents who want to make a decision on which college to attend.
It will save the high school students and their parents the cost of visiting those colleges since make them feel that they are actually in the colleges.
“It’s very expensive and time consuming to just go out and visit all the schools somebody is interested in,” said Abi Mandelbaum the YouVisit CEO. “You’re able to transport yourself and feel like you’re actually there,” he added.
The headgear is only in a prototype stage and Yale will not have one until the end of summer.
Last week, Facebook closed its $2 billion purchase of Oculus VR. This is the startup developing the Oculus Rift goggles.
The device covers wearers eyes and has motion sensors to detect the direction you are looking and bring you an illusion of being in that location.
Facebook is also working with Samsung to bring Oculus technology to mobile devices. Sony and Google are also busy working on their version of virtual reality gadgets.
Much of the Oculus goggles development has been around video games but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he believes it can be utilized to create a social platform that can change the way people communicate, work and play just as in the case of the YouVisit’s Oculus campus tours that demonstrates one of its non-gaming applications.
Mandelbaum and his co-founders got the idea for virtual tours while studying at Brandeis University.
“We always had this thought that there might be a better way for international students and out-of-state students to get a better feel for what it was like to study at different college campuses,” said Mandelbaum.
Yales University tours site shows the campus with 360 degrees panoramas, photos and videos. But Oculus Rift gives a better experience of what it feels like to be physically in the campus; in the library, the quad or in the labs.
It covers all the areas that a student may need to make a decision on whether to join the college.
It has several interior and exterior views including the campus paper’s newsroom and the engineering labs.
Ebbe Atlberg could not hide his marvel as he donned an Oculus Rift during a demonstration. “Oh my, I’m back in college,” he said as he looked all around a sparse virtual Yale dorm room.
According to Dunn, the virtual tour can not replace an actual visit which may give the students the opportunity to as questions. But the gadget provides the students with a feel of the campus that can help answer most of their questions.