What caught my eye at the Virtual Reality Show

By Shooting Partners Account Manager, Josh Portwine

Held over three days in April at the Islington Design Centre, the Virtual Reality Show showcased some of the latest updates from VR/360 video creators. Focusing less on the acquisition side of things, the show featured talks from professionals and offered visitors the chance to view content and, in some cases, get hands-on with virtual and augmented reality experiences.

One thing that stood out was how many different industries are utilising the power of VR – broadcast, military and education were just a few of the sectors represented at the show, and an entire section of the expo was devoted to VR applications in medicine.

A simple but effective demo that I tried was a setup to teach people how to perform CPR. With a Resusci Anne mannequin in front of you, you don the VR HMD, headphones and wrist sensors which transport you to a virtual hospital ward.  When a person in front of you goes into cardiac arrest, you have to give them CPR until help arrives.  Gauges give you feedback on your performance so that you can improve your technique during the session.  This was a great experience as I’ve read and been told how to do CPR but never had the opportunity to try doing it myself.

The parachuting demonstration was another example of VR providing realistic experiences for training – they used a wind fan and hoist to suspend participants off the ground – adding a physical element to the virtual environment.

 

My favourite Virtual Reality Show exhibits

Whist by AOEhttp://www.aoiesteban.com/whist/

This installation impressed me due to its use of many different VR aspects. The event space had physical sculptures dotted around the floor.  When you first put the Samsung Gear VR headset on, you’re immersed in an augmented reality (AR) experience and, in this mode, you wander around the space looking for the sculpture that is displayed on the screen.  Once the correct sculpture is found, a 360 video is played back through the headset.  This is the first time I’ve experienced the mixed use of so many different VR and AR applications in one experience.

Unstitched by RUVAN – http://www.ruvan.com/Unstitched-Virtual-Reality

Ruvan Wijesooriya’s background is in fashion photography. Using 360 video he transports the viewer into the heart of an editorial cover shoot. What stands out about this content is Ruvan’s experimentation with camera positions and movement that lend themselves to his punk style approach.

Igloo http://www.igloovision.com/ group VR/360 experiences

The Igloo 360 projection domes are a great way to allow groups to experience 360/VR environments together. The drawback of these is that you have very limited control of the VR environment you are viewing, but it’s a good start to making VR less exclusive.

The Sublime dome (pictured) is another example of how to achieve shared VR experiences

VR Predictions and observations from the show

  • Blended reality is becoming an increasingly popular approach – combining 360 video with VR and AR elements increases creative opportunities.
  • There is a desperate need for shared virtual experiences.  Currently almost all VR/360 content is viewed as a solitary experience – once you put the HMD on, you’re on your own.  While this works well for a lot of content, it’s got its limits. Many people will tell you that the best bit about watching live sports or a concert is the camaraderie you have with those around you.  If you can’t make it to the event in person, then a shared 360/VR experience is the next best thing.
  • I’ve heard it before and it was repeated at the show, successful VR content is motivated by more than novelty.  If the content isn’t suited to, and conceptualised for VR viewing, it won’t be successful.

Get in touch with Shooting Partners to discuss your next 360 degree video or VR project

 

 

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