Carol C. Bradley | July 3, 2015
Adam Heet is walking down Main Street in South Bend, circa 1925, with the aid of Oculus, a next-generation virtual reality system designed for video gaming.
The building he’s looking at is the Moore Building, also known colloquially as the “Dental Palace,” demolished in 1931 (see photo at right). The building stood on the site where the South Bend Waterworks building is today, and just to the right in the photo (east) is the building that now houses the LaSalle Grill.
The Oculus is basically a stereoscope, says Heet, digital project specialist (“or toy master, if you wish”) in the Hesburgh Libraries Architecture Library. “It’s actually a video game interface with a better graphics card and more memory. It’s not a new technology, but it’s a new presentation of it,” he says.
The virtual experience is part of a larger project, Building South Bend: Past, Present & Future— which includes a website, buildingsouthbend. nd.edu, a mobile app (Downtown SB, free in the iTunes Store) and a 3-D printed model of South Bend’s downtown in the 1920s.