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Updated May 19 @ 2:19PM

Facebook, Samsung bring virtual reality to Avalon

Users get to test headsets


ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Imagine you’re able to put on a headset and almost immediately be transported to Africa where you’re face to face with elephants, or in outer space dodging comets or on the basketball court facing LeBron James.

Visitors at Avalon the last weeks of December were able to transport to those places through Facebook’s VR, or virtual reality, tour using Samsung’s Gear VR, which are virtual reality headsets that use the smart phone and technology built by Facebook’s Oculus team, and which might soon become our future.

The Facebook VR tour was a chance to bring the immersive experience to the public, according to Facebook spokesman Alan Cooper.

“The goal is to showcase how powerful and immersive the technology is,” Cooper said. “It’s one of those types of technologies that no matter how much you talk about it or show it to people through pictures or advertisements, you really grasp it when you’re in it.”

Once placing the headset on, all sounds and sights are focused on what is playing on the screen. The experience is called “Introduction to Virtual Reality” and is a series of 360 degree vignettes of different scenes, like meeting a dinosaur face-to-face, being center stage at Cirque du Soleil or taking a ride down a river.

“We’ve seen a big outpouring of support,” Cooper said. “People love the technology. We’ve had people come through ranging in age from 13 to 80 years old. It’s one of those things when you see it, you’re blown away. You’re not tethered to what you see and experience every day.”

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