Last night was the first debate for the 2016 Democratic presidential candidates, but it was also the first presidential debate in history that could be viewed in virtual reality. CNN teamed up with software company NextVR to broadcast the event live in a 360-degree virtual reality video accessible only to users of Samsung's Gear VR headset, which is available now for $99 on the Samsung Store, and requires a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone as the viewer.
One of the key revelations of the seminal 1999 sci-film The Matrix was (spoiler alert) that most of humanity was trapped inside an elaborate virtual world. At the time, the scenario seemed far-fetched, if not wholly outside the realm of possibility. But 16 years later, scientists are getting much closer to replicating reality with an increasingly indistinguishable computer-generated copy. Just take a look at the latest advances from the University of Michigan's UM3D Lab, which focuses on research into virtual reality, 3D modeling/printing, motion capture, and other emerging technologies.