VR & AR Experiences to Look Forward to at the SIGGRAPH 2017 VR Village
Some say it’s a fad (console gamers), some say it’s a fail (old people…and console gamers), and others like me see VR & AR as a tech in it’s infancy that will dominate the cutting edge in the years to come. A positive sign for evangelists like myself is the appearances the tech is making at the industry shows and SIGGRAPH 2017 is no exception as it will have cutting edge VR research to show off. Here are a few of the exhibitions I’m most excited to learn more about:
Bridget – Occipital Inc
Bridget is a mixed reality robot that combines VR & AR that to allow users to interact with their own environment, including stepping into complete VR worlds via a window in reality. Using Occipital’s Bridge Sensor, the device and accompanying iOS app will scan your surroundings to create a 3D Map of the environment and then place mixed reality elements into the space. Scanning the room also allows boundary objects to be created so you don’t run your ass into a coffee table during a VR experience.
With the camera, it provides inside-out tracking meaning you need no additional cameras placed in the room. Visit the product page to learn more.
Hallelujah – Lytro
Created by the genius minds at Lytro, this is billed as the first VR music experience to allow six degrees of freedom. This one excites me because it is captured using Lytro’s new Immerse light-field camera to capture ‘volumetric footage’ via an array.
This tech is the future as far as capturing footage that will provide the amount of freedom of movement required for presence in VR. Not to mention the insanely useful VFX potential of light-field cameras, but that is an article for another day.
IRIDiuM+ – Disney Research
This is a big one, with the backing of Disney. Disney Research and Edinburgh Napier University collaborated to create a “deep-media” (their words not mine, stuff like that sounds douchey) that synchronizes tactile, audio, and light-field techniques to tell a non-linear story in virtual reality.
The viewer will enter pre-rendered movies and have the ability to change the story through movement and touch with a narrator guiding the way. The tactile experience is provided via air haptic actuators.
Remote Collaboration in AR & VR Using Virtual Replicas – Columbia University
I don’t yet know too much about this project but the application of it is super practical and could mean a lot of innovation in customer support and teaching. Big brained folk from Columbia University and Stanford collaborated on this research to use AR and VR to allow a remote expert to instruct a novice to assemble and repair by pointing in 3D and showing appropriate techniques.
Imagine calling support for a device in your home, and having someone guide you through how to take it apart and repair it. The ways you’ll be able to teach people across the globe has huge potential. Pretty awesome.
Demonz I Digital Playgroundz – INITI.org
This is the ‘feel good’ demo. From Prague based INITI.org comes an augmented reality installation that allows visitors to interact with projected elements on the walls to create a game of dodgeball. The tech used allows groups of players to interact at the same time with the installation tracking each.
This has great potential for trade show exhibitors by opening up a cool interactive way to get people involved in your brand or message through interactivity. Plus when you don’t have to wear a headset it lets the causal non-techies in on the fun, and kids will get interested in the magic behind the scenes.
There will also be a number of traditional ‘game’ style experiences, some of which you can already buy on Steam. I’m sure those will be great too, but I wanted to focus on the more unique offerings here.