Vestal native, Binghamton University grad working on forefront of virtual reality industry

Local News

NewsChannel 34 continues our look at Binghamton’s claim as the Birthplace of Virtual Reality.

On Monday, we showed you how our area contributed to VR’s roots.

Tonight, we introduce you to a Vestal native who’s working on the next developments of virtual reality.

Rapidly developing technology has all fingers, or controllers, pointing toward virtual reality as the next commodity in not only gaming, but our everyday lives.

And while our area was an innovator in the VR projects of the past, a Vestal native and Binghamton University graduate is paving the way for the future.

Andrew Eiche graduated from B.U.’s Watson School of Engineering and now works for Owlchemy Labs in Austin, Texas, a video game producer and developer.

“We always had a computer, even before most people had them. I spent a lot of time working with computers. I would break them and try to fix them before my parents came home from work,” said Eiche.

Virtual Reality is slowly making its way into households as its becomes more affordable and available.

VR Junkies in Vestal is a virtual reality arcade that allows players to come in and use the equipment.

It utilizes a helmet with two screens in the eye-holes immersing the gamer into a 360 degree, three-dimensional world.

The helmet has a cord running down the back that hooks up to the PC.

Small detecting bays are hung up at the top of a sectioned off curtain and alarms a gamer when he or she is too close to a wall or barrier.

Gamers grab a remote in each hand and while they do include buttons and triggers, the VR technology allows you to become the controller.

The technology is turning heads due to its realism and immersive experience.

Eiche says other industries are interested in working with Owlchemy to develop a simulator that can be used in the medical, auto and athletic industries

“We can improve their baseball swing, improving their golf swing, improving their athletic ability. We can pull data and we can analyze. We can throw 1,000 pitches that a pitching machine could never throw like crazy curveballs just to simulate what’s coming,” he said.

The rendering and processing may be state of the art for its time, but current trends are already becoming the products of yesterday.

“Think about what video games looked like in the 1970’s. Think about what they look like today. Now, think about that we are in the 1970s of VR and we have a long way to go,” he said.

Eiche says it’s almost impossible to predict where VR is headed in the next 10 to 20 years.

With technology improving seemingly every day, consumers and gamers are in for a roller coaster ending. 

Eiche is currently designing a virtual reality video game based on the popular Adult Swim animated series ‘Rick and Morty’.

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