Los Angeles, CA (Pop Culture Today)
As an attendee at Siggraph for many years now, I've noticed it shrinking in size a bit every year, but tor what it lacked in floor space this year, it made up for with fun. Virtual Reality, or VR for short, stole the show as people lined up to check out goggles and content at various booths and at the new dedicated area - the VR Village.
For me, Vicon stole the show with its immersive VR technology. You have a backpack, a band around your feet and hands, VR goggles and you're holding a stick. All of a sudden you are not on a convention floor in LA, but in an Egyptian tomb and the stick in your hand is a lit torch and you look at your hands and legs and they are male although you are a female. And you look at the guy experiencing this with you and he is a female 3D avatar. The box he was holding is now a treasure chest. You are completely transported to another world. Time travel, wormhole travel, a sci-fi lover's dream. Thoughts of a future enter my mind where the atmosphere is unbreathable and people are trapped indoors in a bleak decrepit environment but get to escape their horrid lives and experience their fantasies with something better than drugs --VR. We are now entering the Twilight Zone, stepping onto the Holodeck. The future has arrived.
Various other companies are now selling plastic versions of the goggles with headbands so you don't have to hold the viewer like the Cardboard, but there are still many drawbacks. The phone itself, especially the bigger ones like iPhone 6+ are heavy and pull down on the unit causing pain or discomfort on your nose. And you have to keep opening and closing the unit to put the phone in, press buttons, etc... Some VR headsets are more immersive than others. Some just feel like you're watching a TV in the air, while others make you feel like you are actually there, completely immersed in the scene. I experimented downloading several VR apps (and more are popping up every day!) and found that those created for the Oculus Rift, the high end king of VR headsets, seem to work perfectly with the Cardboard, or at least the freebie knock-off I received at the Archiac booth at Siggraph.