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Virtual reality is a topic that we hear about more and more nowadays. It promises to take us to new worlds, to let us explore amazing places in detail and play games that feel real. It’s becoming more and more popular and more accessible.

This month, from 3 to 6 November, Amsterdam was the host of the second edition of the VR Days convention, which took place in the beautiful VondelCS location (the old film museum in Vondelpark). The purpose of the event was to help people in this area connect with each other, to bring more attention to the European VR world and to “build bridges to inspire: from fine arts to finance, psychology to porn, theatre to tech, games to politics” — as they say on their website. Important companies and famous people were there, from HTC with their Vive offerings and Facebook/Oculus with the Rift to nVidia and Samsung.

The last day was the demo day: everyone, from experts to first time explorers could join and test the latest tech and trends in VR and AR (augmented reality). Being recently introduced to the VR world and totally amazed by it, I couldn’t miss this opportunity. I think everyone imagines the VR experience in different ways: some might underestimate it, some might have their expectations set a little too high, some might say they are against it — that it will never replace real life, or even more so, fearing that it will.

“Does it feel real?” some friends asked me. Well, it feels like a different kind of real, I would answer. I love exploring the underwater world or other fantastic places, to be very good at archery, float in space or play games. I’m not a person who usually plays computer games, but I could play the VR ones for hours!

At the demo day there were many things to choose from: VR cinema, tennis lessons, games, exploration of remote places, driving a race car (including a car model to sit in and feel the movement). It was an interesting experience and I’ve met some cool people there (yes, there was also time for human interaction, it wasn’t all virtual!). When I left, stepping out of the virtual landscapes into the rainy reality of Amsterdam and the beautiful autumn colours and smells of Vondelpark, I couldn’t help but wonder if ever the VR experience will improve so much as to satisfy other senses than only the visual and hearing ones. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Until then, here are some photos from the event:

 

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