Digital entertainment technology students are in the process of creating a program for the virtual reality headset, Oculus Rift.
The Oculus Rift is a next generation virtual reality headset that provides a 360-degree environment as opposed to the standard 90-degrees that a television game offers. The goggles provide a view that is only limited by where the user is looking, allowing the users peripheral vision to become the limit to what can be seen. The Oculus Rift also reacts to head turning, allowing users to look around the virtual world just as they would in real-life.
Dr. Brian Burton, assistant professor of information technology, used his development funds to purchase the Oculus Rift development kit for the DET class project.
“This is really the bleeding edge of digital entertainment technology,” Burton said. “For students to be able to work on a project like this adds incredible value to their degree.”
Burton said several companies are interested in his departments work with the headset, and that the students working on this project will enter the job world with incredible experience.
The students are creating a short film that encompasses a 270-degree view. The viewer will be able to turn their head and watch different parts of the film that are happening simultaneously.
Tim Holt, a junior DET major from Plano, is excited to have the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology.
“To be a part of this project is mind-blowing to me,” Holt said. “If this project turns out to be a success, there is a chance that we could be some of the first people in history to make a real life 270-degree film.”
Dr. Burton sees much potential in the educational application of the Oculus Rift and similar technology.
“This technology could be used to simulate heart surgery or allow the user to witness a chemical reaction without the real-world risk, while retaining all the educational benefits,” Burton said.
Burton hopes the project will be done by FilmFest, but because of the complexity of the technology, the completion date is still uncertain.
“Either way this goes, we will be able to learn and take away a lot from this,” Burton said. “If the project is a success, it will have been an incredible task to work on. If we don’t complete it, we will still have learned a lot about this technology.”