May 2, 2014
Swedish Advertisers Use Oculus Rift To Demo Lag
While the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift is just starting to find its way into people’s hands (or on their eyes), we’re just starting to learn about the potential of the unit. Some advertisers in Sweden found an innovative way to use a modified Oculus Rift in a recent ad campaign for Internet provider Ume.net. The campaign is called Living With Lag*.
In a three-minute spot seen below, the advertisers show a group of four participants the difference between a 0.33-second delay and a three-second delay, Mashable reports. Why is this important? It is meant to demonstrate lag experienced from a slow Internet connection. “You wouldn’t accept lag offline, so why do it online?” is the basis of the advert.
The commercial, which can be seen from the viewpoint of the person wearing the Oculus Rift unit, as well as viewing the person wearing the unit, is quite humorous. Imagine taking part in everyday activities such as making brunch, an aerobics class or playing ping-pong. Now imagine doing all of those things if your vision was three-seconds behind what is actually happening. The other three participants giggle as one person on a three-second delay pours pancake batter onto the stovetop, completely missing the griddle. “Did he get any in there?” one onlooker asks, through laughs.
The truth is, it’s not so funny when this happens and you’re online. If the three-second delay on a streaming video is smooth, you might be OK, but lag typically comes with choppiness. Where lag really hurts is in live meetings, like group video calls on Skype (which were just made free this week), or playing video games against other opponents.
Video games will stand out as one of the more crucial platforms, where lag can mean the difference between a glorious victory and utter defeat.
The victory in the ad campaign, however, is that the advertisers were able to modify the Oculus Rift unit to cater to their needs. In this case the advertisers used an Oculus Rift modified using a Raspberry Pi, a webcam, and noise cancelling headphones. The modified unit was able to create the delay needed to demonstrate Ume.net’s point of dealing with lag by controlling the senses that would compensate for the time lag. The advertisers essentially created an augmented reality; making the user see and hear everything on a three-second delay, and reacting to those events in a delayed time.
The Oculus Rift has created its own new reality. The company was sold to Facebook in March. Facebook hopes to reach a new audience with this new platform. It is unclear whether Facebook would appreciate the unit being used to show a negative event such as lag, but the social network must appreciate an Internet provider offering faster speeds that can deliver Facebook and its world of services at fast speeds, without lag. It will be interesting to see where else we see the Oculus Rift show up, and how people will use it beyond entertainment.
Image Credit: Oculus VR