Category Archives: Testing tech

Testing the Samsung Gear VR

Recently some of our team members had the pleasure to test the new Samsung Gear VR at Curtin University. Unfortunately no actual footage this time (there’s plenty around thought, for example at Gizmodo) as Samsung guys still want to play it down a bit – some social media creatures might ask why, as isn’t building hype still the best way to sell new tech?

Personally, I was a bit skeptical in the beginning (don’t positive accounts always start a bit like this?): How does this make anything different or what is its market segment going to be? After seeing one with my own eyes and using it, I can actually see some nice situations to use the Gear VR. So, some very quick first impressions below.

This was just a very quick try, and we were basically only seeing some VR movies. You know those, where for example an underwater scene continues around you as you turn your head around.

One feature that made the Gear VR pleasant to use, was that it was quite light. It could actually be easy to take with you, and it does not weight too much. Where it differs from the regular Oculus Rift headset, is that it does not have all those wires floating around. Also the touch pad and the back button on the right side was amazingly intuitive. You didn’t have to think about it all while using.

As a gamer myself, I started thinking how the device could immerse you in a game environment (or why not a virtual presentation of the environment where you are actually going to) when you are for example sitting on an airplane. This is something we’ve been thinking with our logistics environment. One might be going to an environment A to do X. He or she might first virtually get to know the space and its objects while en route to the actual location.

Apparently the device also has an affordance for augmented reality (AR), which means that you can see the real world through the device and place virtual objects on the scene. This could be for example a virtual prototype of a building, and you can check how it looks like in the real space. This is actually something we used to experiment with in Finland already like 6 years ago, and I still feel AR holds an untapped potential.

Another thing is of course that as you have the screen on your face, no one else on the airplane or other space sees what you are looking at. This adds security if that is needed. Someone once said that email and social media aren’t the weakest links of privacy, but instead CEOs and employees with their laptop screens wide open for the whole world.

A thing I am a bit skeptical though, is the Galaxy Note 4. The resolution I saw looked amazing, but I just wonder how well the Note’s computing power performs and how long the battery lasts with more heavy-duty 3D environments? I know the Samsung guys would say that the device holds more computing power than many laptops a couple of years back. I guess we’ll just need to see when the actual device with some real content comes out.

Anyway, as a first very quick impression, the headset seemed quite nice. So I am interested in seeing its release and how it might stir up ecosystems around VR headsets.