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Stuck at home? Check out these virtual experiences and simulators

Tee off, make wine, or even fly – all in the comfort of home.

Simulators aren’t new; Drivemobile, the first racing simulator machine was released in 1968 by Sega. Others soon followed in a myriad of genres, from sports to hunting, kick-starting an era of arcades that drained generations of children’s pocket money. Some have had the potential for more practical uses. In education, for example, they are tapped to perform dangerous tasks practically risk-free. Others, like the virtual flying system Icaros, are utilised to gamify physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises. As virtual fidelity and accuracy continuously improves, the sky’s the limit – though we’d wager that it might be a while before we see any full-dive virtual experiences à la The Matrix’s martial arts dojo.

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    Walk in new worlds

    Virtual Reality (VR) once promised sights and sounds indistinguishable from real life but its early days could only conjure terrible simulacrums that didn’t garner much public favour. Then, in 2014, with Facebook’s US$2.3 billion (S$3.27 billion) acquisition of Oculus, a new era of VR emerged. The headsets are lighter, motion tracking is leaps better and visuals are now as realistic as whatever modern computers can render – and stunningly at that. What’s more, while top-of-the-line headsets like the Oculus Rift S and HTC’s Vive Cosmos already provide incredibly immersive experiences, you can take them a step further with omnidirectional treadmills. These gadgets allow you to walk and run endlessly in any direction, creating the illusion of expansive worlds in your living room. Consumer-friendly models like the Kat Walk Mini from the China-based KAT VR are already seeing an increase in sales from both individuals after first-class entertainment and businesses seeking solutions to being stuck inside.

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