SAN JOSE — As technology advances in the ever-changing Silicon Valley, citizens can now enjoy the thrill of virtual reality — at the library.
At a launch event on Friday at Martin Luther King Jr. public library downtown, adults and teens were able to test out Oculus Rift Systems — a headset combined with a virtual reality screen so passersby could see in 2-D what users in the headset were experiencing in 3-D.
“I played a Haunted Mansion game that had surround sound,” said San Jose 18 year-old Brandon Lau. “It felt so real, it was scary but extremely worth it.”
The San Jose public library is offering the virtual reality headsets through a state library grant. Virtual reality headsets are available at TeenHQ in the downtown library and at the Evergreen branch library. It’s part of a partnership with the California Library Association and Oculus VR.
“We want to be relevant and innovative, which means keeping up to date with technology, and we wanted to make it available not only to kids but to adults,” said library spokesperson Nancy Macias. “Digital inclusion is huge, regardless of age or background, VR should be available to you.”
The headsets come with hand controllers so that users can actually grab and interact with objects in the virtual world. TeenHQ offers other forms as technology as well, such as a recording studio and 3-D printers.
“We have a game where you can build sculptures in the virtual reality,” said Cindy Ball, the program manager of Oculus Education, the company that provided the headsets. “And with that design, here at the library they have 3-D printers, so maybe what you design in the virtual space you can actually bring to life with the 3-D printers.”
The downtown library and Evergreen branch are two of ninety state libraries to launch virtual reality through Oculus VR and the California Library Association this year….