BERLIN -- In Fragments of a Hologram Rose, William Gibson's first published short story, the protagonist has insomnia. To induce sleep, he uses a virtual reality tape that takes him to a yoga class on an exotic beach.
I remembered this story as I leaned into a massage chair and put on a VR headset that took me to a similar beach, a masseur in front of me telling me to relax and showing me how to breathe properly. Massage Pedicure Set Chairs
The five-minute experience, courtesy of a health-oriented, German company called Medisana(Opens in a new tab) , was not long enough for me to completely forget that I was actually surrounded by dozens of people visiting the IFA trade show in Berlin, but it was definitely one of the better uses of VR tech I've experienced.
After the masseur walked out of view, it was just me and the waves. The point of view is positioned low, so you feel like you're lying in the sand, which felt surprisingly nice. The field of view, at only 180 degrees, wasn't that nice; one look to the side and the illusion is lost.
There's no tech breakthrough here; it's just an Oculus Rift running a pre-recorded movie. The massage chair, while definitely the best I've tried, was nothing groundbreaking, either. But the combo makes perfect sense. If you can't actually be at a faraway beach getting a massage, the chair and the VR experience are likely the next best thing you can get.
A Medisana rep told me that what I've tried out was a prototype, but the company hopes to have a product in stores soon. And while the chair I tried out is likely too expensive and too bulky for most, Medisana also sells cheaper variants of massage chairs, which are wrapped over a regular chair. These will also work with the VR experience, the rep told me, but he could not give me the pricing or an exact date of availability for any of the VR products I've seen.
osaki massage chair Stan is a Senior Editor at Mashable, where he has worked since 2007. He's got more battery-powered gadgets and band t-shirts than you. He writes about the next groundbreaking thing. Typically, this is a phone, a coin, or a car. His ultimate goal is to know something about everything.