Creative Experience was busy last Thursday, as library staff demonstrated a new HTC-Vive virtual reality headset. From across the first floor of the library, passersby noticed the commotion and stopped by Creative Experience to see what was going on. In the open area in the middle of the room, someone wearing what looked like a scuba-mask on their face seemed to be doing a funny dance in front of a video projection, but they weren’t performing for the gathering audience; they were in their own world.
The video projected on the screen showed spectators a flattened version of what the person wearing the headset was seeing, while the sounds played over loudspeakers. Inside the goggles, however, it was much different. Participants often exclaimed as they put the set on their heads, because they instantly found themselves in a convincingly-real, three-dimensional environment.
Players entered virtual reality through game called “The Lab,” where they explored a warehouse offering portals to different scenes. Using hand controllers, they were able to interact with objects, such as tools and balls, which they soon discovered they could pick up and throw. They drew on a white board with virtual markers, and they pet a robot dog, who responded by offering its belly and squealing with delight.
In this “Lab,” players found different scenes to explore. There were games where they exploded barrels with a catapult or shot a bow and arrow at cartoon intruders to protect a castle. Those not interested in shooting games, could explore our solar system, perform surgery on a robot needing fixing, or enter into postcard destinations, such as Venice or Vesper Peak—often accompanied by the robot dog, who loved to chase any sticks the player happened to see lying around.
Thirty-five people, tried out the new set Thursday, including staff and patrons ranging in age from teens to elders. If you missed this sneak peak, there will be other opportunities to experience virtual reality at the St. Louis Public Library. Creative Experience is planning future programming with the set. Stay tuned for details.
New Dates to Try Virtual Reality:
For more information, contact Creative Experience at firstname.lastname@example.org or (314)880-2593.