We've all had that moment, the one where something in real life looks so deliciously game-like that we just wish we could dive in right there and start playing.
Say you're walking through a parking lot on a hot summer day, feeling bored. Next thing you know, you've lost yourself in a fantasy where you're pressed against the side of the black S.U.V. to your left, wincing as bullets ricochet off the hood. You're suddenly wearing power armor and clutching at a chainsaw combined with an assault rifle, screaming at your best friend to get behind cover because there's a fresh round of Lambent coming from the other side of the parking lot.
Ok, so maybe that's just my fantasy. But in either case, it's always been held back by the annoying fact that my eyeballs are stuck inside my head, unable to give me the disembodied third-person perspective I recognize from classic games like Gears of War, Mass Effect, and Grand Theft Auto.
Bartosz Barlowski, one of the creators of the new prototype, told a 3D Printing-focused website that his goal with the new device is to grant users a third-person perspective (TPP) "for use in virtual reality devices and solve real world problems by using it to help users be more aware of their environment."
Like many Oculus Rift-enabled prototypes, the thing is very silly-looking and not entirely effective...yet. But these are the sorts of ideas are also what makes virtual reality so compelling. Just like the gender-swapping experiment done with the Oculus Rift, the third-person rig offers users a perspective on life that's genuinely new.
That's something purely virtual games have already been doing for a while, of course. But the "reality" part of "virtual reality" is what makes it exciting all over again.