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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Now VR is R

My father's a huge science fiction fan, though you couldn't tell just by meeting him. He doesn't wear a Starfleet lapel pin, or taped glasses, or exhibit any of the other stereotypical nerd accouterments. Also, he can be a touch technophobic - even a bit of a Luddite at times. I think these traits stem from not wanting to be disappointed.

Space travel was happening for the first time in history during his formative years. Men. In Space! ON THE MOON! I dream of a day when a human will walk on Mars, but all of that builds on what has come before.

The science fiction of the 50s, 60s, and 70s (and to a greater extent all of those fantastic pulp novels that preceded) had a lot of far-out ideas. It made a lot of promises1. It was all about what technological marvels were inevitable - a straight moon-shot extrapolation, or at least it seemed so at the time.

And this brings me to the $10 cardboard viewer kit I bought last week. This is the kind of thing that was science fiction even a mere decade or two ago, and it's exactly the kind of thing my dad will really think is neat. I can't wait to show it to him, and say, "Hold these cardboard goggles up to your face and try not to bump into anything."

Essentially, the experience is to the stereograph what the motion picture was to the photograph. Remember the View Master you had as a kid? Imagine instead of putting a cardboard wheel into it, you put your phone in, and you enter instead, a movie.

I haven't had much of a chance to explore many apps yet, but what I have seen is amazing.  Vertiginous at times. Sheer joy.

You see, as I've gotten older I've come to realize: It's not the things, it's the experiences that are important. And I look forward to giving my dad the gift of a future promised, a promise fulfilled.

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1 - Still waiting on my flying car! OK- not really. People can't seem to navigate successfully en mass in two dimensions, in three the fatalities would be astronomical.

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