So it’s no secret that I have been following VR since the earliest prototype devices of the 80s (and if you count stereoscopic imagery- then it dates back to my first viewmaster which I had for Christmas way back when I was 8!). I have tried most of the current crop of VR and AR headsets from the PSVR all the way up to the HoloLens. In a previous post I outlined my build PC for the Oculus Rift DK2 – I still have that machine – though with graphics card updated to an RX480 and a PIMAX 4k Headset (the subject of a future post?).
Before the Internet I would travel around photographic auctions and shows looking for old bits of stereoscopic kit – it was always exciting to unearth and research a new piece that I was unfamiliar with and I picked up some of my favourite pieces in this way.. In the early days of the internet I made contact with a few collectors in the US and when I heard reports that the Nintendo Virtual Boy was being ‘sold off’ in Walmart I reached out to a couple of them and bagged a couple for my collection (one to play with and one to keep MIB!) I also managed to get most of the game cartridges!
(I always thought the VB looked a bit like a Triffid Death Machine from “War of the Worlds”)
My favourite devices are probably the oldest – I have a half dozen or so of these dotted around my house – just because I think they look great! (There was a time when you could pick these up quote cheaply) The classic ‘Taxiphote’ is probably my favourite, though there are many variations of the basic model some of which I am still discovering …
Sometimes it’s the unexpected gems that I was able to ‘bag’ that give me the most pleasure. I used to routinely submit “blind” low bids to photographic auctions and one time noticed that one lot had ‘a collection of stereoscopic glass slides’ as very much a secondary item included with a lot of two Kodak projectors. I won the lot with my low bid and was astonished when I went to collect and found the most incredible collection of stereoscopic glass slides taken by a Frenchman on his travels across Europe at the turn of the 20th century. I still haven’t managed to successfully catalogue the whole collection but it remains one of my most prized items!
A Typical stereoscopic image from my collection (the actual resolution is very impressive given these images age!)
Not content with viewers I also have quite a collection of stereoscopic cameras – again, my favourites are probably the oldest ones in my collection (in my opinion ‘design classics’)
Most of the cameras on the second row fold up inside themselves – the ultimate gadgets of their day!
The 3D craze in the fifties produced a treasure trove of cameras and no self respecting gadget lover would be without a Realist or Kodak, (A small selection of 50’s cameras are shown on the bottom right of the picture).
And just recently I have spent some time setting up a dedicated (albeit limited by my dwindling finances) VR area in my ‘man cave’ – perhaps the subject of another future blog post?