The Rift is a virtual reality headset that hit the news recently after Facebook bought the company for $2 billion. It was originally invented by Palmer Luckey who was rumoured to have the largest collection of virtual-reality goggles prior to building his own. Virtual Reality head-mounted displays are a kind of helmet that once worn displays a field of view on the lenses of the headset enabling the wearer to view whatever is displayed as if they were viewing it in person. They were used to enter the Metaverse in the book Snowcrash by Neal Stephenson, a future replacement for the internet comprising of interconnected virtual worlds.
With 360° head tracking and a 100° field of view wearing an Oculus Rift allows the user’s view to be no longer confined to a screen, creating a more natural feeling experience. The application of the Oculus Rift is pretty diverse from immersive gaming to controlling tanks but one interesting use is for The Second Livestock project which aims to support ethical livestock initiatives with a virtual free range experience for confined hens. Hopefully the project is a joke but it does demonstrate the power of virtual reality applications, perhaps there is a market for animal training or dog therapy for schizophrenic pets that think they are cats!