The showstopper on the day was the HTC Vive VR Headset, the fully immersive current trending STEAM VR, showcasing Google’s latest virtual reality release Tilt Brush this software gives the user the stimulating opportunity to interact fully with their masterpieces in a 360 experience.
This is just one example of the amazing possibilities and software available on the HTC Vive Headset. Even if you’re not creatively gifted anyone can enjoy the experience and get completely involved. What gives the HTC the edge over the Oculus is the wireless motion tracking controllers, which engage the user a lot more and the motion accuracy was surprisingly more advanced than expected. HTC Vive has its own demo simulators, this is a try before you buy tactic, which worked pretty well as we were sold immediately.
A kitchen simulator demo created by Microsoft for the HTC Vive was particularly great fun and very impressive; the best virtual meal I’ve ever made. However, stylization such as colour, geometry and characters were still quite basic and childlike. This is understandable at such an early stage but knowing this and how fast technology and media evolves, it’s hard not to get excited about what’s to come and how quickly it will advance. Just think: 360 Tinder! The down sides to the HTC is the spatial boundaries needed to move about whilst still attached to the headset. From first-hand experience, it is quite easy to get carried away and lose your sense of spatial awareness. Being quite an expensive piece of VR kit, I wouldn’t recommend hitting someone in the face with it, that is taking things too far into reality… On the day it was a shame we couldn’t connect numerous headsets together, as it was rather weird standing solo looking like a crazy person flailing about while 300 people watched. However, having discussed the option of multiple interactive headsets with the MD at EON Reality, we agreed that this was a great way to have conference calls with people across the globe.
The schedule for the day was designed to showcase the numerous VR and AR hardware. An induction tour showcased what EON Reality supplies. Not only hardware, but an impressive resource of developers they have chosen from various universities and trained specifically at the EON Reality academy; sounds like X-Men doesn’t it. This was a fantastic concept that made a lot of sense. Why promote innovative tech without knowing how to utilize it to its full potential and cater it to our clients? Pretty much our driving force at IMA3D!
Amongst the HTC Vive hype, there was the impressive mixed VR and AR system Microsoft HoloLens which are very similar to a pair of sunglasses. The best way to describe the function of the HoloLens to anyone is something similar to a hologram. A hologram even though it looks to be completely transparent, still needs some sort of light friendly surface to be visible, glass, smoke, even water. The Microsoft HoloLens simulates through the headset, superimposing holographics onto the real world, leaving your peripheral vision uninterrupted. The wireless headset is lightweight, which makes movement uninterrupted and comes with inbuilt speakers and microphone.
The male holographic anatomy example for the Microsoft Hololens was very realistic and encompassed every ideal of what a hologram would look like. Initial instinct was to wave your hand through it knowing that it would pass through with no interruption but also still surprised that it wouldn’t because of the high quality of the holographic. Another neat function of the headset is the inbuilt sensor fusion; sensors so advanced they capture minute hand gestures and eye movements translating them into real time commands. Tech is seriously getting ever so close to the minority report ideal.
The use of Google Cardboard, a VR platform for your smart phone was vastly present, as it is widely recognized and dare I say becoming slightly outdated. However, there was a competitor to the Google Cardboard, which could only be described as a pair of mini spectacles that you can clip on to any smart phone, created by HOMiDO. The HOMiDO mini glasses minimize materials, space and functionality and it’s a lot more user friendly. They are also very reasonably priced and a great branded give away for any client; pocket size VR!
Over all it was a valuable day spent being exposed to all the new innovative tech. Most applications we were already aware of but it was a great behind the scenes opportunity to have a play and understand the pros and limitations involved with each system, creating a more researched and executed proposal to our clients. Always at the forefront of innovation, IMA3D’s pursuit is that we are commercially aware that tech is catching up with the hype and we are there to catch it and add value. We know it will be an incremental process of changes and improvements but will add to the big leap forward.