Although smaller than expected for a World Congress, the expo showcased some interesting developers, ideas and products surrounding the Virtual Reality (VR) world.
There were a number of Bristol based developers making some exciting bespoke content for VR. The content created by Play Nicely Ltd was visually nice and showed great animation skills in Unity (who were also at the Expo). This level of bespoke content could be used for future Unity based client projects where a digital VR world is required as part of the brief.
We passed two HTC Vive stalls the manufacturer themselves and AMD which were demonstrating the full head and hand tracking, one of which was multiplayer with in-game interaction. This is something we definitely want to implement in the future. The AMD stall were showing a bow and arrow based game which allowed the user to fire arrows from a bow using hand movements with the controllers, very much like the Wii controller has allowed people to do in the past but with a lot more freedom and accuracy. The games and projects showcased were both ideal for event games.
Next we visited a stall displaying custom hand tracking which appeared to integrate with many versions of VR headset. This was based on using a head mounted sensor and LED trackers on the hand controls. The downside to this solution is that you aren’t able to get the full range of motion from your hand movements due to the sensor having a limited range and field of view.
We then talked to Bivrost, a stand offering 360 video capture with a custom Camera mount and stitching software. 360 VR video capture has exponential opportunities in events and offers the added benefits of using branded Google I Am Cardboard Headsets.
One of the highlights of the Expo for us were Trinus who were demonstrating a very portable and lightweight VR solution using a mobile phone app. This app allowed you to use the accelerometer from the phone to track head movements on a game streamed from a PC nearby wirelessly. The results of this were a very high quality VR image with very little in the way of cables and accessories. We spoke with the company about implementing their software for 360 video viewing and hosting. This would give us the ability to host a video and have people download an app and view it in VR through their own phone via some form of VR Lens like http://www.imcardboard.com.
Overall the Expo was good but we feel it highlighted the infancy that VR is currently at and the level of tech displayed at the expo was slightly disappointing. We know for certain that VR has progressed more than what was displayed here. Our personal level of testing in VR experiences, particularly linked with Motor Racing would have been (in our opinion) a highlight of the show… Maybe next year!