WellesleyWeston Magazine

SPRING 2017

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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That's likely going to change right before your eyes though, because billions of dollars are being pumped into augmented and virtual real- ity, both by venture capitalists and the biggest names in technology. Facebook, for example, bought virtual reality company Oculus Rift for $2 billion in 2014, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has gushed over the possibilities of such an immersive computing and communi- cations platform for everyday consumer applications and sophisticated business ones. As you might imagine, the hottest new virtual reality technology for consumers isn't cheap. When the Oculus Rift high fidelity VR headset began shipping to consumers last March, it cost $600, and buyers really needed a $1,000 PC to take advantage of it. HTC Vive debuted last April at $800 and PlayStation VR rolled out last fall priced between $400 and $500. Tuong Huy Nguyen, a principal research analyst at tech-market watcher Gartner, says that because the market is so young it's hard to forecast how fast prices will fall. However, he does say, "We are expecting some pretty good competition in terms of price erosion. As we know hundreds of vendors in China and elsewhere are doing their own things." In fact, more affordable options are already available. Samsung Gear VR, which snaps on to Samsung Galaxy phones, retails for $100 and can be had for less, and there's even a VR version of the old Mattel View-Master obtainable for $30. Cheaper yet: the very non-high-tech- sounding Google Cardboard phone attachment costs just $15, and has also been a popular giveaway through phone companies, newspapers, and even late night talk show hosts like Conan O'Brien. It's these less expensive options that Wellesley and Weston residents have more commonly had access to so far. VR Comes to Town Not that the Boston Red Sox couldn't afford the pricier VR equipment, but when the team brought its traveling showcase of mascots, games and former players to Wellesley's Hunnewell Field in late June, it also brought Samsung Gear VR technology. It was used to thrust those 122 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 7 Virtual and Augmented Reality Virtual Reality A simulated sensory experience that can be lifelike (such as for viewing live sports events or concerts) or the product of imagination (such as for gaming, including Minecraft). VR is typically experienced wear- ing a headset or viewer, such as smart- phone add-ons like Google Cardboard or Samsung's Gear VR. M E D I A B A K E R Y L I V I N G R O O M

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