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Exploring the cutting edge of virtual reality

Virtual Reality - The Future is here

Here at Virtual Realms a passionate group of creatives, innovators and developers we will bring you the latest news and reviews on everything Virtual Reality

 

The Augmented Realm

Andy Hood

We’ve seen an explosion of virtual reality headsets in recent months with new ones being either released or announced seemingly every week.  Just after Christmas, however, was an announcement by Microsoft of a slightly different kind of headset – Hololens, a headset specifically designed to deliver “hologrammatic” augmented reality experiences.  

The video trailer is predictably amazing, but the first live demonstrations do appear to fully deliver on the promise of placing life-like interactive virtual objects into our real-world surroundings, in the way that we imagine seeing holograms.  So what difference does this make to the current crop of creative people looking at virtual reality as the medium of the future?

Well in the first instance, for experiences that are more service-oriented rather than focused on entertainment, this kind of augmented reality may well be an easier concept for the mainstream public to understand and interact with.  Seeing the familiar world around you while interacting with fully realized three-dimensional objects may well be more comforting than finding oneself in the middle of a totally fabricated CGI environment. 

One of the challenges in the virtual world is how to interact naturally.  The use of gestures is the main interaction method, which can be done by attaching a Leap Motion device to the front of the headset.  Oculus themselves acquired Nimble VR, a company specializing in skeletal hand tracking, for just this purpose.  However, in VR the best case is that the user sees a CGI model of hands and arms, and looking down may see similar renders of legs and feet.  With AR everything happens with the users own actual body, and therefore there is less to distract them from the purpose in hand.

What it will mean is a huge increase in the breadth of solutions available to those who are invested in creating amazing experiences using 3D modeling of virtual assets and environments, solutions that work using little more than natural human behavior.  It will also mean that we need to learn when to apply these different ‘realities’ – some experiences will be better executed in VR than AR, and vice versa.  What will work best in the home, or in retail environments or events? 

The rise of headsets that do both – “augmented VR” headsets – is inevitable.  The first of these has already been launched and we should expect to see the existing headsets developing in this way sooner rather than later.

We now have more tools at our disposal with which to make a difference, we need to use them appropriately.  

The World’s First Virtual Reality Birth

Resh Sidhu

Samsung shared their ‘LifeLIVE’ event created by Leo Burnett Sydney. This is the world’s first Virtual Reality Birth in Australia, a couple based 4,000km’s away from each other, were connected live, for a virtual birthing experience powered by Samsung’s VR Gear headset. An interesting example of the power of Virtual Reality in transporting people to places they can otherwise not reach. 

This experience demonstrates the power of Virtual Reality removing physical barriers like distance that keep people from sharing the most important and profound experiences in our lives. It's a great example in showing how Virtual Reality is more than just gaming, it has the ability to transport us anywhere and anytime.

The experience required multiple additional cameras, recording equipment, streaming equipment and the Samsung Note 4 to achieve the VR effect with Samsung Gear VR. 

 

VISIONS OF CALIFORNIA: THE FIRST-EVER VIRTUAL REALITY FASHION STORY

Resh Sidhu

Together with ELLE & Jaunt, 7 For All Mankind introduces the first-ever virtual reality fashion narrative bringing to life the story of one girl's vivid interpretation of the ultimate California fantasy. 

Inspired by 7 For All Mankind's rich California heritage, the cinematic narrative will transport you from Paris to the Golden State in a new and innovative way where dreams are realized, desire is awakened, and style is shaped and inspired.

ANDROID USERS

The 3D Virtual Reality experience is available on Mobile devices by downloading 7 For All Mankind's Visions of California App. The Android version is currently available on the Google Play Store. 

The Visions of California 3D Virtual Reality experience will be available for viewing on the Oculus Rift using a Mac or PC later this week. Alternatively, you can view the full film in 2D and get style inspiration at 7forallmankind.com/experience. 

The Future of Shopping

Karen Boswell

From store planning to visual merchandising, the way our real and virtual worlds are coming together is speeding up and getting more exciting, with several solutions coming to market that allow retailers to combine their data intelligence with consumer interaction to take shopping to the next level of futuristic personalisation.

As well as being an exciting immersive experience for consumers, it carries with it many benefits for businesses too; from planning to purchase. 

Software solutions such as Red Dot Square’s 3D8 platform provides an insightful perspective for mock ups and demo spaces, allowing you to create your virtual shop floor and stack your virtual shelves and in doing so reduce overheads for physical planning space. 

From a learning perspective the same software also provides eye tracking and footfall mapping, meaning brands will understand how users taylor their personal journeys from searching for a single product or brand, to a category or department, providing insight into the best way to position products for cross selling.

We also have players like Oculus now geared up to go mass market and with new to market solutions like Volumental, which aims to democratise ordering tailored clothing through specialised body scanning, we’re really only a few digital dots from a completely joined up virtual shopping experience, exciting!

We’ve come a long way from flight simulation haven’t we?