Hi from Boulder!
I recently visited the Reality Garage located on the Pearl Street Mall! What a unique experience. In less than a second I went from Glacier County, Montana to the streets of Manhattan. All I kept thinking about was jumping to Marietta, Georgia to see a quick view of home.
I was actually able to do just that by using Google Earth virtual reality which allows you to visit any part of the globe. I met up with Bob, founder/creator, who set me up with VR Gear Goggles and two controllers which allow you to fly anywhere around the world. Once the goggles were on, a 3D globe appears and you use the controllers to point to your destination. I decided to visit beautiful Vesper Peak in Washington and I instantly had the most spectacular view from the summit. It was a feeling of total euphoria as I watched the birds fly by with the sun shining as if I was actually there. My favorite part was the dog on top of the mountain that I played fetch with. This virtual reality blew my mind as I could interact with the dog-scratching his belly and watching him jump from different parts of the peak!
My next stop was Manhattan. Talk about a concrete jungle! The images were so detailed from the windows on buildings to the vehicles driving along the streets. My goal was to find Central Park because I have always wanted to go there. Using the controllers, I was flying over skyscrapers and busy New York traffic. I also wanted to walk along the street so I pointed my controller toward the pedestrians and a 3D image of the exact address I was on appeared. I eventually was able to find beautiful Central Park and now, in a way, I can technically say I have been there.
For all of you sports fans, you can also sit courtside at an NBA game. The 3D players are so realistic it’s as if you can reach out and touch them! Bob provided a Samsung Galaxy smartphone which attached into the portable, wireless Samsung Gear VR Goggles. This created a 360 degree experience sitting courtside at a Chicago Bulls versus Toronto Raptors game. Jimmy Butler, one of my favorite players, was two feet in front of me! Being a major sports fan, I never wanted it to end.
Go visit Bob at the Reality Garage and you won’t regret it! The virtual lounge or experience space has walk ins and appointments available for individuals and groups. The VR Maker Space that he is currently working on will have equipment, software, workshops, boot camps, and open collaboration. Bob is in the process of creating a Boulder VR experience featuring landmarks such as Chautauqua Trailhead! He is also partnering with Boulder International Film Festival providing equipment for the VR Pavilion hosted at Galvanize on March 3 – March 4.
The Reality Garage is located on 1320 Pearl Street in the basement of the Cartwright Building. There is no specific fixed price for the experience but donations are highly recommended (suggested $5-$15 for a short tour, $20-$40 for a hangout). As Bob put it, “think of it as a brick and mortar GoFundMe.”
Visiting home and Central Park from the Pearl Street Mall in one day… it doesn’t get much better than that!