eleVR: the first web video player for virtual reality
Why should gaming get all the fun? eleVR is like YouTube for your virtual reality headset -- and anyone can jump in and create videos.
Michelle StarrScience editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
You may be able to control a quadcopter with an Oculus Rift -- but what about just kicking back and watching some videos from your favourite creators? That's what the newly launched eleVR is for.
The website, a collaborative effort between "mathemusician" Vi Hart, software developer and mathematical artist Andrea Hawksley, and vlogger, artist and media producer Emily Eifler, offers the first open source web video player compatible with the Oculus Rift, with all videos produced by the team available for download and all code available on github so that anyone can implement their own ideas.
"VR hardware will get better, and better, and suddenly I looked at the limited little rectangle of my videos and saw something soon to be archaic, an arbitrary shape chosen by technological convenience rather than anything fundamentally meaningful to the human experience, and I saw VR as the platform for video, for social media, for the entire internet," Hart wrote on her blog.
"I'm not going to wait around until my medium is dead, then jump onto other people's platforms after they've already made the rules. I decided to get in right away and create a VR video culture that is open, diverse, and in the hands of individual creators, just as the Oculus got its start as an open platform in the hands of independent game developers."
According to the eleVR development blog, developing the viewer and the videos to go along with it have provided some interesting challenges, particularly insofar as producing spherical video with stereoscopic sound is concerned. But it's all part of the process of creating the technology the team hopes will be a game-changer.
"VR video breaks the control of the static frame and lets viewers choose where to look. This difference, while perhaps not as staggering as seeing the first motion picture, is a major sea change in the future of media," the team wrote.
"VR video for the web will allow web video creators to share stories from within, bringing their audiences beyond the setting and set dressing of movies to actually being in a place, will give teachers a new way to immerse their students, will spawn whole new genres."
Head on over to the eleVR website to check it out for yourself and -- if you're so inclined -- get forking on the code.