While Oculus Rift will no doubt be amazing for gaming, the peripheral's real life applications will also have a huge impact. While checking out the product at CES, the company talked about telecommuting and visiting places you've never been able to visit in real life. Taking that to the next level, a lecturer from the University of Surrey in the UK is offering people the chance to go to space.
Dr. Aaron Knoll lectures in plasma propulsion for spacecraft within the Surrey Space Center and has interned with the Canadian Space Agency. He and several research fellows have taken to Kickstarter to fund a project that will send a balloon into space. An attached rig is comprised of 24 GoPro Hero 3 cameras, an Arduino micro controller, a GPS receiver, a magnetometer, gyro seniors, a pressure sensor, SD card data storage, a SPOT satellite messenger, a hand warmer and a battery pack will all fit into a custom built styrofoam enclosure. This rig will capture video in all directions, and the video will be stitched together to form an immersive experience that can be enjoyed using Oculus Rift.
The catch here is that you must have an Oculus Rift unit to enjoy the experience as it is intended. Contributors can also opt for the PC or smartphone experience (both require lesser contributions compared to the Oculus Rift experience), but you'll just be navigating via your smartphone or mouse. Not exactly the same.
The Kickstarter currently has 22 backers and has funded about a tenth of its £30,000 goal. The project expires on April 3, 2014, which is less than a month away.
Oculus Rift still hasn't been released to the public, but Oculus VR, the company behind the HUD, has said it will be affordable for everyone. Obviously, with this kind of peripheral, it's not going to be cheap. However, given one of the big appeals is the possibility of experiencing things you otherwise might not be able to afford, we're glad Oculus plans to sell it for "as cheap as [it] can while still existing as a company."