Skip to main content

Visiting PAX East Part 1: Oculus Booth

Growing up in a generation that has seen so much technological change in one lifetime it takes alot to impress me these days but a visit to the Oculus Booth at the PAX East Convention yesterday was well worth the ticket price. I left the demo feeling awestruck and humbled to live in such a technologically rich lifetime. Seriously, we will probably see Skynet.

If you haven't heard of the Oculus Rift, it's a stereoscopic (you can see full 360 degrees) virtual reality headset that is going to be affordable for consumers. If you signed up for the PAX East App, you were able to schedule in advance a short time with the Oculus Cresent Bay demo. After experiencing the satisfaction of cutting the 2 hour line, you were taken to a dark room with the headset, a mat to stand on, and of course someone to guide you through the process.  The demo plays highly detailed example scenes from as a beautiful Minecraft-ish meadow full of animals to a realistic Jurassic Park like scene with a T-Rex charging towards you. Anytime during the simulation you were encouraged to look all the way around you and change your position from standing to sitting etc.  Besides being able to peak at a very small section below me (which worked out so I didn't fall off the mat), the entire world was virtual. The scene that really got me was the high platform on a skyscraper overlooking a city. I literally backed up as my stomach dropped from the soaring height between me and the "ground". I found myself many times reaching out to touch and interact with the environment but there's nothing you can do during the demo.  The finale, which convinced me I could actually get into video games again, was a scene from an alien invasion where you are part of the police team trying to take them down. Bullets, glass, lasers and even a car fly all around you as you move closer and closer to the target with bullet time right out of a Wachowski brothers movie.
Samsung VR Net Gear Demo

Right now it's only available as a developer's kit for game designers (and the quite tech savvy librarians like those over at Ames Free Library in Easton where I had my first demo) to have a chance at testing/improving the tech and designing games for the Oculus.

Many big name companies are trying to create their own head sets for virtual gaming. In the Oculus booth was the Samsung VR Net Gear (another very long line to wait for) which had a controller to play a few demo games.

If there was an interest, I would love to add this to a Makerspace like Easton did. Imagine budding game developers getting a chance to come down to the library to program and later when the consumer device debuts library patrons can play what they have designed.  Libraries can certainly get on the ground floor of this awe-inspiring technological development. Buyers beware on this one though it does take alot of work to set them up and configure which Jed Phillips over in Easton can attest to. Also after the initial set up, just to demo already made games requires a very robust computer and money for games but imagine if people would wait 2 hours outside the library to demo the Oculus?



  1. ROBLOX is driven by an ever growing community of over 300,000 creators who generate an infinite variety of highly immersive experiences.

    These experiences range from 3D games and competitions, to interactive adventures where friends can take on new identities to discover what it feels to be a dinosaur, a miner working a mine or an astronaut out in space.


Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting!

Popular posts from this blog

3D Printing Tips

Here are some go to tools to have when 3D printing: box cutter, needle nose pliers, wire snips

The wire snips are handy when you build any kind of supports or rafts onto your project and you need to carefully cut them off. The needle nose pliers I usually use to remove gunk from the tip of the extruder and the boxcutter was for getting off those 3D printed jobs that have stuck themselves to the non heated plate.

My newest tool: painter's tape. Sometimes the simplest things can make life easier. As I was struggling with my box cutter to pry a 3D creation from our Cube 2 non heated plate, a man went by our table at the Cape Cod Mini Maker Faire and said, "Oh just cover the plate with painter's tape". EUREKA! I still have to cover the masking tape with our special glue before printing but now when I try to pull off the creation I just pull at a tape strip and it comes off easily. No more soaking the plate for 10 minutes in hot water or prying it off with a knife (or in th…

Makey Makey Floor Piano

If you are looking for a short, low cost project to do with your Makey Makeys, this one is sure to be a big hit. It's a great small group project as well as an eye catching interactive display in some noisy area of the library (as long as you can keep library staff sane). This was made as part of our Tinkering Tuesdays lab. We had low tech cardboard construction, 3D printing, and the Makey floor piano going on simultaneously. It took us about 1.5 hours with 3 teens helping.

Materials List:
Aluminum Tape $12
Duct Tape (any color) $2
Makey Makey $50
CAT cable (there's one lying around your library trust me) or just use regular wire
Wire strippers
12 x 12 x 1.5 in puzzle piece exercise mat $12
white 6 x 8 tarp (but could be smaller) $12
Computer with internet running Scratch

This video shows a demonstration with step by step picture instructions and a more detailed video explanation. I got the idea from two sites that I used for consult: Ed Tech Junkies & Make It At Your Li…

New ideas for Circulation-Library of Things/ Makerspace Kits

The DFL currently experiments with hobby, STEAM, and Technology kits that are housed both in the adult section and the kids room. These kits include musical instruments, video equipment, puzzles, cake plans, robots, looms, and more available for checkout.  The kits are bought using our Amazon prime account, under the supervision of the head of circulation using a special makerspace kit budget and backed up by a kit committee made up of various departments to streamline the process. 
The kits with the most holds by far have been the Retro Nintendo and Super Nintendo Classic which were small batch pre-Christmas releases for the last two years.  Rather than blowing the dirt out of your old cartridges, these consoles have games built in for your playing pleasure. According to Walmart, the Nintendo "classics" are on sale as of today.  Our kit contains a small palm sized console, 2 controllers (try to upgrade wireless ones if you can), an ac adapter, and, I recommend, a carrying …