Virtual reality was a hit at SXSW, with apps like Splash, which lets you record 360-degree videos with your mobile phone, demonstrating VR’s capabilities for the world outside of gaming. Below are seven firms who showcased their non-gaming related VR ideas at SXSW.
Guided Meditation VR
Created by Cubicle Ninjas, Guided Meditation VR is currently available free for Oculus Rift devices. But more importantly, it proves the power that VR has to transport a user away to a new world, and shows that the depth and use of VR goes further than games. Applications like Guided Meditation VR will bring the medium into the mainstream.
Sound will become increasingly important as VR develops as a media. The SubPac M2 hopes to improve the 3D audio portion of VR by enhancing it with haptic feedback, or in other words, getting you to wear a vest with a subwoofer that can replicate what it feels like when the bass drops at your favorite EDM festival. With something like the SubPac M2, a dragon roaring in a VR user’s face can be felt, as well seen and heard.
The Vuze camera hopes to do away with the stigma of the selfie stick for one very important reason: shooting 360-degree video. With the Vuze camera, users can shoot 4K 3D 360-degree recordings that can be viewed by anyone with a Google Cardboard or any mobile-VR goggles. If you ever want to convince grandparents to try VR, let them eat cake with their grandchildren at birthday parties. Pre-orders will open April 2016.
The Shoebox Diorama
Created by interactive illustrator Daniel Ernst, Shoebox Diorama shows the potential VR has an art form. Ernst has painted each diorama for Shoebox Diorama by hand, utilizing presence and immersion to convey an experience to users as they interact with the compositions. Shoebox Diorama currently has two dioramas available and one forthcoming: Blocked In, where viewers watch giant tetris blocks bring about the end of the world while trapped in apartment, Der Grosse Gottlieb, where the stars descend to within the viewers reach, and The Marchland (yet to be released), which “places the visitor in a tollbooth where things unseen pass by.”
The Fulldome.pro takes the immersiveness of 360-degree video, and lets it be shared with others, a step into solving perhaps the one problem VR can’t shake: it’s a solitary experience. At the moment, the Fulldome.pro line is geared toward the enterprises who can afford high-end 360-degree visualization theaters, though down the line it could potentially allow America’s favorite family activities to evolve into something even better.
Across the Line
Made in partnership with Planned Parenthood, Across the Line is an immersive VR film that shows how VR can be used as a tool to bring awareness to social issues. Across the Line transports viewers into the world of a woman who has to cross the picket line of anti-abortion extremists to access abortion services, and viewers of Across the Line can feel firsthand what it’s like to suffer through that intimidation. Across the Line recently premiered at Sundance, and is available for download on iOS and Android.
YouVisit attempts to democratize the magic of travel for everyone, with a platform (available for download on iOS and Android) that uses VR’s capabilities to let a user step onto the streets of Paris while at home in Omaha. Users can create, upload their own videos to YouVisit, and view other users’ 360-degree videos as well, YouVisit also works with businesses to create interactive experiences for marketing purposes, an innovative form of brand engagement.
Other VR firms who showcased their ideas at SXSW include Groove Jones, Vitrima, Bipolar Id, KDDI, VRmaster, GrooVR, Akibimi Productions, NOON VR, USC Cinematic Arts, Play Nicely, Orange Sunshine and Prologue Immersive.