STAMFORD, Conn. — The first time Hugh Seaton experienced virtual reality, he liked the idea but was unsure how the technology could be used.
"I thought it was great,” Seaton recently told Daily Voice. But “I didn’t think it was scalable."
But times have changed. Now, "you can see virtual reality on YouTube ,” Seaton said.
Last week, visitors to a computer lab at Stamford’s Ferguson Library got a chance to visit new worlds at an event run by Seaton.
They were able to experiment with virtual reality technology ranging from an inexpensive lens clipped to Seaton’s smartphone to an elaborate Vive headset that let library patrons see a virtual world — a shipwreck under the ocean — from every angle as if they were physically there.
Seaton holds the lab at the library on Mondays and also runs a group learning experience on Saturdays on Unity, a program that allows a user to create 2D and 3D games, apps and experiences. "It's a relatively simple way to create things in 3D,” Seaton said.
The Saturday learning sessions are a communal learning experience for everyone — including Seaton. “It's all of us learning together," he said.
Virtual reality technology is becoming more and more accessible to the public. For those who don't want to purchase expensive technology, there's now Google Cardboard , which one can make from scratch or purchase for $15.
In the future, Seaton hopes to introduce even more people to virtual reality technology. He said he hopes to work with universities and plans to hold events in the New Haven area.
And, as CEO of Aquinas Training , he hopes to incorporate virtual reality into his business. But for now, his Stamford learning labs are making quite an impression on patrons.
Stamford resident Joshua Aferzon said he has tried virtual reality before but the experience at the library was “fascinating” and “surreal.”
And, on a business level, “I think it had a lot applications in a lot of different industries."
Aferzon also tried a cellphone virtual reality experience. Would he purchase an app and lens himself?
"I'm debating still," he said. "We'll see."