At the end of 2014, we were lucky enough to spend three days at LeWeb, one of the world’s leading tech conferences. Most of our time was spent at our stand, demoing our product – but we also had a chance to explore some of the other technology on show. And wandering these three vast halls in the suburbs of Paris felt like stepping into the future.
The conference had everything, from virtual reality to futuristic art installations. Here are a few of the best things we stumbled on.
The Oculus Rift
Until you’ve tried on the Rift, it’s tempting to think the gasps of amazement you see in the promo videos are the result of bad actors reading from bad scripts. But there’s no acting involved – it’s impossible to come away from your first experience with the Rift in anything other than a state of blind disbelief.
The simulation we tried was a theme park ride that has you strapped to a seat that’s spun through 360 degrees above a small town. And it’s genuinely disconcerting. On more than one occasion I had to be grabbed to stop me from falling to the floor – it’s surprisingly hard to stay upright when your senses are screaming to you that you’re hanging upside down.
But, more than anything, you come away with the sense that this is only the beginning. Everyone’s talking about the potential of the Rift for gaming – but what about all the other applications? Imagine watching a gig at Madison Square Garden from the comfort of your living room, or seeing your favourite sports team as if you were right there in the stadium, or watching the next blockbuster with the action unfolding around you.
Seriously – the Rift is going to change everything.
Ok, so this is no virtual reality – but it’s pretty fun. You step into a booth, about 100 cameras go off at once, and you get a 3D photo of you sent straight to your phone. Needless frivolity? Perhaps. But who knows – it could be a good way of getting versions of the people you know into that virtual reality world the Rift is going to bring about.
Drones are so a part of the zeitgeist that they had their own slot on the main stage – and we can see why. The speed at which these things have become (a) usable and (b) affordable is insane. We don’t have one yet, but it’s high on the list of planned purchases for the Jukedeck office.
The one thing we’d say is that they’re surprisingly loud. So if you’re making a #dronie and you need some music to drown out the noise of a thousand angry bees, you know where to head.