Oculus, the company behind the popular Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, may end up distributing its VR devices for free to schools.
Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus, mentioned in an email to a graduate student that the company does “have plans around education” and that its “considering giving free Rifts to educational institutions.”
While most people associate the Oculus Rift with immersive gaming, the headset already has people excited for other uses and experiences such as virtual vacations and field trips, concerts, or even productivity workspaces. In theory, students could someday soon visit historical landmarks and cities lost by time, or virtually explore the solar system — all from the safety of the classroom.
“We want to get these into as many hands as possible, especially the people who are learning how to build the future!” Luckey said in the email.
Oculus isn’t the first tech company to consider distributing its hardware to schools for free. Last year, Microsoft offered schools free Surface RT tablets if they adopted Microsoft’s educational search product, Bing for Schools. Apple has given schools steep discounts on its hardware in the past too, especially iPads.
No release date has been set for the commercial version of the Oculus Rift, though most estimate the VR headset to go on sale in late 2014 or early 2015.