Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus Virtual Reality (VR) in 2014 threw a spotlight on the virtual world. Everyone from developers and enterprise professionals, to gamers and sports fanatics started to reimagine the world around them. Whether speaking to a foreign medical specialist from your lounge, or exploring the craters of the moon from your bedroom, putting on a VR headset makes these experiences possible.
It was trialling a VR headset that motivated French Imagine Cup finalist Stimulus to make VR experiences even bigger and better. The team noticed that, while VR headsets can augment what we see and hear, they struggle to recreate an authentic ‘feeling’ when in your virtual world, meaning the experience falls short of being truly immersive.
At the same time, motion simulators and simulation rides have long existed in gaming arcades, theme parks and pilot training centres but are prohibitively expensive for the average person to own and enjoy. Stimulus also observed that every current simulator on the market is dedicated to only one or two applications – driving or surfing, for example.
The team decided to build a physical simulator which could be used by anyone, anywhere. The first modular simulator designed for the home, it produces left-right and back-forward movement and comes with plug-ins such as fans and compressed air to simulate speed or collisions. The expected retail price is an affordable €300 – making it accessible to the majority of gamers, who typically spend more than this on their consoles. In fact, before committing to developing their own piece of VR kit the team conducted a survey of gamers which found that 70% were enthusiastic about the prospect of a low-cost universal simulator. What gamer wouldn’t relish the sensation of racing down the motorway in Forza Horizon 2 at high speed, with the wind in your hair, and the ability to shunt your friends off the road!
With Digi-Capital predicting that the AR/VR market will hit an astounding $150 billion in revenue by 2020, it is clear that there will be a sizable demand for accessories to support these platforms – just look at the size of the mobile peripherals market today. So, look out for Stimulus, coming soon to a living room near you.
Find more information on the Stimulus team here.