When Urho Konttori handed me the VR headset, I almost laughed. The founder and CEO of some Finnish company I'd never heard of had just told me he and his team of 19 people had managed to leapfrog virtual reality 20 years into the future—and he gives me an Oculus Rift? "It's just the housing," he said. "We added some things inside." Fine, I thought. You've seen plenty of demos where the reality didn't match the hype. Just do it, then you can go back to the office. So I put the headset on.
The demo itself was quick, maybe 10 minutes, and consisted of a series of static VR environments that I could examine at will. There was a simple room with a TV in the corner streaming video; a shapeless environment with some floating computer monitors; a plane cockpit. Because this was an Oculus Rift, the image quality was exactly what I expected it to be: fine. However, a small clear rectangle was there as well, sitting in the middle of my field of vision. If I looked at something through that small rectangle—the text on the virtual computer monitors, the tiny numbers in the plane's instrument panels—it stopped looking like VR. It just looked like...well, like real life. And it's the first step in Varjo's plan to create ultra-high-end headsets—for corporate use at first, but someday soon, for civilians like you and me.