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Virtual reality comes to SIFF

The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset pictured in 2013.
Flickr Photo/Sergey Galyonkin (CC BY SA 2.0)/
The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset pictured in 2013.

Ross Reynolds interviews Sandy Cioffi, curator of the virtual reality festival SIFFX, within the Seattle International Film Festival. Cioffi describes the unique ability of VR productions to evoke empathy and emotion and explains how people who don't attend the festival can experience VR for themselves.

Virtual reality is having its moment. New headsets from Facebook-funded Oculus Rift and HTC's Vive (with video games produced by Washington game company Valve) are hitting the market.

Even legacy media giant The New York Times is getting in on VR. They sent a simple VR device called Google Cardboard out to all print subscribers. By inserting a cell phone into Google Cardboard, viewers could see NYT produce virtual reality features that placed viewers in the center of a circle of mourners following the Paris terrorist attacks.

In a recent Wired Magazine cover story here's now Kevin Kelly described it the emergence of VR, which he says is creating the next wave of the internet:

“You need to also understand the tidal wave surging through the entire tech industry. All the major players— Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung — have whole groups dedicated to artificial reality, and they’re hiring more engineers daily. Facebook alone has over 400 people working on VR. Then there are some 230 other companies, such as Meta, the Void, Atheer, Lytro, and 8i, working furiously on hardware and content for this new platform.”