Every year, there is usually at least one piece of technology that stands out, that captures the attention of engineers and creatives, that inspires new ideas and makes new experiences possible. At various times in the past, you could have said this in relation to (for example) the Kinect, Arduino, 3D printing, the Processing programming language, or projection mapping software. This year, one piece of tech stood out, one which reinvigorated an idea from the 1980s and 1990s, making it exciting and within the reach of anyone with a computer or console: the Oculus Rift.
Released this year, the current model is intended for developers; the consumer-level version is planned to be available late 2014. It isn't the only device in the fields of virtual and augmented reality (others include the Sensics Smart Goggles
, Cast AR
, the Avegant Glyph
, and of course Google Glass
), but none of these have got into the hands of many creative developers. While the Rift is primarily being developed for video game experiences, it is interesting to note that many creative projects also utilize other gaming tech as well. For example, there is a programming plug-in for the Unity engine to help convert a 3D application developed on the platform to be easily Rift compatible, as well as experiments with attaching a Kinect sensor to the device.