Recently virtual reality star Oculus Rift released their much anticipated immersive high-end VR system for sale to the public. Today Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Oculus’s Michael Abrash made a joint announcement that they are partnering to release a “Real Book Experience” expansion pack for the Rift.
Michael Abrash, Chief Scientist at Oculus states “I first read Robert A. Heinlein’s 1939 short story “Misfit” when I was a teenager just getting into science fiction, and while I’ve long forgotten most of the story, one image has always stuck in my mind – the scene in which the captain straps himself into the saddle of the “ponderous integral calculator” in order to compute a spaceship’s orbit. Now people can have that same experience with eBooks. It is fantastic, you actually feel like you are turning the pages in a story that you too will be able to forget.”
A source at Amazon was also quoted in saying “With all the technical advances with the Kindle Fire, this seemed like the logical next step. Now you will be able to connect your next generation Fire to the Rift system and open any eBook and feel like you are reading an actual paper book. It is amazing. Soon we will be adding the ability for periodicals, magazines, and even newspapers.”
Early testers were quick to sing the praises of the expansion pack. “I had heard about reading paper books from my dad, but never thought I would be able to share in the experience. But when I put on the Oculus Rift and hooked my Fire up, it was so cool. There I was, sitting, reading a book, turning pages and everything. It was like I was reading a real book, but with VR.” – Chip Steer
While the price of the expansion is currently not available, it probably won’t be cheap. The current price for just the Rift system is $1,499.00 but if you buy it on Amazon, Amazon will throw in Free shipping. However, users will be able to customize their experience with different environments to read their books. Some current environments include Coffee Shop, Sitting in Front of a Fire, or my favorite Reading Outside Under a Tree.
“It is the small details that really make this program” said tester Ima Foeney. “While reading under a tree, there is a small breeze that occasionally pops up and ruffles your pages. You can’t get details like that with a real book.”