Some Results from VR LA 2017 (Virtual Reality Los Angeles)
We attended the 2017 VRLA (http://virtuarealityla.com) expo, and discovered that VR has “legs”. By that I mean that the industry is here to stay, regardless of whether the future involves everyone wearing a VR/AR headset like the disutopian example below:
Whether or not this crazed future actually happens, VR, AR, and Mixed Reality are here to stay, as witness by the huge increase in VRLA size and experiences.
But to start out, I reminded people that 3D tech is over 150 years old. People as far back as the US Civil War could view 3D stereo images with a device like the one below:
I found and original, > 90 year old stereoviewer at a swap meet last year, along with 3D images dating from the 19th century. A perfect thing to wake up the masses following the next big thing.
There were long lines at the demos, especially for StarVR, whose new hardware headset promises 210 degrees FOV, instead of the 110 found in current VR headsets. The lines were so long that I ultimately just looked through the headsets, instead of trying the roomscale adventure the company had set up.
However, StarVR reps apparently think that WebVR is impossible for their device. True, the throughput of a 210 degree display is quite high, but with WebAssembly landing in browsers this years, you’ll be able to get near native performance out of WebVR.
Legend3D (which now has LegendVR) was showing off a variety of “death star” 360 camera and video systems for the high end.
There were lots of small booths as well, with VR startup hopefuls.
And after all that, one might be tempted to relax in a VR couch experience
All in all, the VR industry is clearly robust, and attracting people beyond the X-treme gamer. Most of the people I talked to were in fact marketers, interested in braving this new medium. They are attracted to the “booklike” storytelling possible in VR, compared to video or the web. Why a book? Well, laying out 3D environments is not that different from print designers thinking how their physical print will be seen in (real) 3D space. And for the moment, the isolated nature of most VR experiences encourages contemplation similar to settling down with a good bood.