The Five Stages of VR
(Since this article passes the 750 word mark, I fear it officially qualifies as a Long Read – my apologies for that in advance – but they are Five. Neither Four, or Six. But Five.)
It’s difficult to escape the mention of Virtual Reality when you’re out and about. There is hardly a single newspaper, popular magazine, news bulletin or tech-savvy blog that hasn’t devoted one or more articles to it. We’ve all Heard about it – Virtual Reality (and in its wake perhaps, Augmented Reality) is set to change the world. It’s an exciting new technology, being promoted by the technology enthusiasts and creating a buzz wherever you go.
But what IS it, really – and what does VR, as it is usually abbreviated, mean for you and your life? Well, as with most technological developements, from the Internet (which celebrated its 25th birthday – sort of, kinda – a few weeks ago) to Mobile telephones and especially the development of the smartphone, it usually takes some time for inventions to go from the lab/kitchen table/garage to the hands of the mainstream consumer. In fact, most technologies and inventions go through very distinct phases – and sometimes not reaching the consumer market at all.
At The Reality Lab, we believe that VR is way too powerful to leave it out there in the ‘Through of Disillusionment‘ (more on that in a later article). We need to get this technology out there, and allow people everywhere to experience and use it. And that’s why we defined a number of objectives that we would like to achieve – stuff that we want to get done at the end of the day. We call them the Five Stages of VR – they are the five ways by which we want to make VR accessible to you.
1. Understand: As with most new phenomena, it’s essential that you know what it is, how it works and what it might mean for you. We give presentations for groups of interested parties to explain the history behind VR (spoiler: the concept has been around for a long time!), what the current state is and, depending on the audience, how it might influence their personal life, their business and industry, or more generically how VR (together with AR) is set to change the way we interact and live our daily lifes.
2. Experience: While hearing it from us should give you a decent impression of the ‘state-of-the-art’, there is simply no substitute for experience. We provide demonstrations and hands-on sessions with VR-equipement, using devices like the HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, but also Google Cardboard. Exploring different applications of VR technology often goes a long way to illustrating the power of this concept.
3. Learn: Now that you’ve tried it for yourself, we hope that you’ve caught some of our enthusiasm – well, now it’s time to get started. In either a short workshops, more extensive masterclass – and within the duration of an hour or two, up to a day or two, we can teach you how to build VR applications yourself. Whether you are a seasoned programmer, a graphic designer, merely a technology enthusiast, or even a complete beginner, with nothing more than a laptop and a mobile phone you can build your own first VR experience.
4. Build: Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to build a functional application – either a prototype or demonstration model – which you might due either competing against, or working with member of your team. We organize and facilitate hackathons, gamejams and prototyping sessions where, together with developers, graphic designers, functional designers or basically anyone interested and engaged with a VR project can go from idea to working prototype.
5. Use: Of course, getting your hands dirty with code, editors, functional designs and user tests can be fun – we like to think so. But that’s not for everyone – sometimes there’s just No Time! That’s why we do Full Concept & Application development for VR Projects too. Do you need a VR application for your business or project – just tell us the idea and we’ll design the concept, build the prototype and we will develop and deploy the working application for you. We don’t just do this for you, we do it for ourselves too – at any given time, the Reality Lab has several experimental applications under development – we’ll be updating you all on a few of those shortly.
Yes – this is quite a lot to do. And we’re still discovering as we go – but our mission is clear: making VR accessible to a broad audience, irrespective of technology, vendor and ecosystem. We might have our favourites, but we try to show you everything that’s out there, so you get to join us on this amazing ride. VR is awesome – come and dive in!