Landmark Hotel Charlottesville projection mapping
December 8, 2017

immersive technologies | VR

As of October 2017 my primary efforts in this field have evolved into FLOWLAB

Finally, the tech is here for the most part.  The ability to suspend disbelief and impart emotion.

VR will really change the way we see things in a lot of areas from entertainment to visualization. And it will also disappoint in many ways…as does all emerging technology. Within the next 10 years the non-linear, exponential growth of this tech will be very visible. For now, it has taken roughly 30 years since VR hit the ‘public’ eye for this tech to finally be ‘there for the most part’ for many applications. Few have seen it as more than a novelty and it’s introduction is shrouded in gaming marketing, bad marketing and misinformation.  The technology is sound at many entry levels however the expected experience should be tempered with logic.  A 360 degree video seen through a viewer is immersive to a degree and a preview of things to come while having immediate value now!  But it is not VR.  Virtual Reality, which has less to do with things looking real and more to do with precise technical manipulation spatial and visual acuity.  If things needed to look 100% photoreal for us to perceive reality then eye disease would have wiped us out long ago.  It is many other factors combined that deliver the sense of immersion.  A few higher end consumer systems exist today that are available and are great tools for VR exploration and deliver amazing experiences if paired with the right hardware. True VR will have you scared, in awe at beauty, it will reduce you to a giddy child in front of your colleagues, and you will love it so much you will want your children to experience it immediately…. Or so the vast majority of my exposure efforts have gone.

Which is another point:  The headset and controllers do nothing.  They may cost a lot, but they are input and output devices, only.   The VR happens on your computer, or the computer you wish you had because cheapy VR gaming systems aside you will need to have a current generation top tier GPU and decent system specs to play in the higher end.  So if you already are running a 1060 or above or some crazy 3Xtitan SLI then you are great!  If not, do your homework. And what differentiates high end from low?  motion sickness. Quality of graphics. Comfort.  True 3D interaction. Suspension of disbelief.

It is an amazing time for VR and I plan to continue exploring and informing on this technology:

  • VR live painting for events creating 3D art in a virtual space over a course of time
  • Unity development for designing and creating fully immersive and interactive experiences for others to enjoy, or loathe.
  • Installation art for public consumption using both headset and large format projection technologies to create an interactive and spectator-engaging VR experience

Virtual reality (VR) typically refers to computer technologies that use software to generate the realistic images, sounds and other sensations that replicate a real environment (or create an imaginary setting), and simulate a user’s physical presence in this environment. VR has been defined as “…a realistic and immersive simulation of a three-dimensional environment, created using interactive software and hardware, and experienced or controlled by movement of the body”or as an “immersive, interactive experience generated by a computer”. A person using virtual reality equipment is typically able to “look around” the artificial world, move about in it and interact with features or items that are depicted on a screen or in goggles. Most 2016-era virtual realities are displayed either on a computer monitor, a projector screen, or with a virtual reality headset (also called head-mounted display or HMD). HMDs typically take the form of head-mounted goggles with a screen in front of the eyes. Programs may include audio and sounds through speakers or headphones. | Wikipedia