and many other people who have contributed to this journey
Here are some of the things we have made:
Android 360° VR video player with remote control (2015)
This 360° video player is designed for use at events. The player works with both monoscopic and stereoscopic 360° video. The videos are preloaded on the phones to be used, so there are no streaming delays or loss of quality.
360° video wall (2016)
The 360° video wall puts the 360° video on 7 TVs in a circle around the viewer, using much of the same code as the Android VR video player. Although this system worked well, we found that people were not very impressed with what it was doing so we shut the project down.
The FrankenVive (2016)
On August 5th 2016 the HTC Vive tracked virtual reality system was released to the consumer. These systems are on another level entirely, they operate in a room scale space and you can move around and interact with the virtual world within that space.
As the Vive was both expensive and unobtainable at the time we hacked together a FrankenVive using a Cardboard headset as the display with content for the HTC Vive being streamed to it from a PC. This Heath Robinson contraption used a leap motion controller to detect the users hands and emulate the Vive controllers. It worked, after a fashion, but it was way short of the real thing. Still, the Frankenvive was a LOT of fun :-D
Google South Africa then brought in a real HTC Vive and loaned it to me to try out. I was completely blown away and bought two of them in short succession. This type of system with full tracking of the headset and controllers is still the most immersive form of VR available, creating a compelling illusion that can easily make you forget you are in a virtual world. On one occasion I caught myself trying to close a virtual filing cabinet with my foot, which is not visible in the virtual world. We have had people fall while trying to lean on virtual furniture because they forgot they were in a virtual world.
The Imaginarium (2017)
The next project was a VR Arcade using the Vive systems. We rented a shop at 27 Boxes in Melville and called it The Imaginarium. We ran the arcade for 9 months, from January to September 2017. It didn’t make money but we had a lot of fun and learned how people see and experience VR and what makes the experience fun. We also got to know the Vive systems really well.