Sulon’s Cortex Brings Zombies Into Your Living Room in Challenge to Oculus

April 14 (Bloomberg) –- A new virtual reality headset will go on sale at the end of the year. The Cortex is made by Sulon Technologies and aims to give users a life-like experience in their normal surroundings. (Source: Bloomberg)

The guys at Sulon Technologies want to give Oculus, the virtual reality startup bought by Facebook Inc. for $2 billion, a run for their money.

The Markham, Ontario-based company will begin offering its Cortex headset to developers in the fourth-quarter of this year for $499. Chief Executive Officer Dhan Balachand says his headset is more attractive to consumers because it can overlay a view of one's physical environment with virtual mountains and monsters which the user can move through and interact with.

Cortex “takes the game and builds it into the real world,” Balachand said in March at the Wearable Tech Expo in Tokyo where people waited up to two hours to try the device. “Now you have an option to live the movie, live the game.”

And live the game we did. Grace and I tried the Cortex demo and a white walled room was transformed into what appeared to be a medieval-like chamber. A recently crashed aircraft, still smoking, was lodged through a far ceiling. In another room a window looked out onto mountains.

Then the zombies entered and things got even more interesting. I shot them and it was a whole lot of fun, i.e. I killed a lot of zombies. Grace found the zombies so life-like she was afraid to shoot them.

Further making the device accessible to the casual gamer is that a users' smartphone or tablet is used as a display. The device recognizes the size and boundaries of the wearer's surroundings through a 360 degree spatial scanner and reflects 3D images over what the wearer sees.

Besides the surreal experience, additional programming isn't required to convert existing games for use on its platform, said Balachand. An application that will be released with the device will convert existing games to stereoscopic 3D views. Sulon is also planning to release a new tablet product with two cameras in the back called Cortex Play in the next year.

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

An attendee tries out a prototype of Sulon Technologies Inc.'s Sulon Cortex virtual reality headset at the Wearable Tech Expo in Tokyo, Japan. Close

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Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

An attendee tries out a prototype of Sulon Technologies Inc.'s Sulon Cortex virtual reality headset at the Wearable Tech Expo in Tokyo, Japan.

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