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Virtual Reality Day — Why do we need to celebrate technology that’s yet to arrive?

The future is now, VR is here and it is everywhere. We live in an age that the previous generations of sci-fi fans have been waiting for, and it’s less glamorous than anyone was hoping for. VR at its most accessible consists of smartphone users sticking their phones in goggles made of plastic or cardboard like the Google Cardboard, to more expensive rigs like the sets sold by Oculus, Vive, and Sony. Chances are you know this already, but do you know how we got here, do you know where we’re actually going?

Making VR more mainstream was the premise behind the 2nd Annual Global Virtual Reality Day, a series of VR/AR events that took place across 62 cities and 5 continents across the world on the 17th of November 2018.

Do we actually know what lies ahead?

Elements of VR go all the back to the 1860s, when French avant-garde playwright Antonin Artaud took the view that illusion and reality were not distinct from one another and argued that a theatre audience should suspend their disbelief and consider the performance to be reality. The first simulation device, a forerunner to virtual reality, was not invented until 1920, when Edwin Link developed the first flight simulator to train novice pilots.

Sensorama, invented by Morton Heilig

The first true electronic virtual reality device was the Sensorama, invented by Morton Heilig in the mid 1950s. The Sensorama featured stereo speakers, a stereoscopic 3d display, fans, smell generators, and a vibrating chair.

And so, here we are today. Your typical VR rig is capable of full head and hand tracking, and they incorporate innovations from other technology such as wireless connectivity and Wi-Fi. But where are going next? After all, we seem to be using VR for video games, surely we can do more than that. That is why we look for a collective of people, to come together to solve these challenges. To make that happen, we celebrate World Virtual Reality Day.

The brain child of Robert Fine, founder of VR Voice, creator of Virtual Reality Day, with the purpose of raising VR awareness till Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality become as conventional as the mobile phone or social media.

As an organisation; Bob’s manifesto on trying to create a global day of celebration, education and awareness about Virtual Reality was nothing short of inspirational.

The beauty behind the event was the amalgamation of professionals between the industry and the general public whilst giving people the opportunity to discover Virtual Reality for the first time.

At Scapic, our primary mission to enable creation for the immersive web is deeply aligned with the ideology of Virtual Reality Day and we were extremely proud to have hosted the Bangalore chapter of the occasion.

As a platform that lets individuals, brands and enterprises harness the power of creating for new mediums such as Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality without any coding or 3D expertise; spreading awareness about Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality are driving factors to honouring the mission.

Keeping in sync with the verticals of celebration, education and awareness; Scapic’s rendition of Virtual Reality Day involved three tracks: Knowledge Track, Experience Track and the Creation Track.

Learn: The Knowledge track

It was created with the aim to provide attendees a rounded perspective about Virtual Reality & creating for Virtual Reality; seminars providing introductions to VR with Unity to unravelling the latest trends WebVR technology.

Akash Kuttappa, Scapic’s Product Lead, talking about the future of WebXR

An introduction to 3D designing with Blender to an insightful panel discussion on the future of VR. A mixture of speakers from the Scapic team and external speakers eager to show their support for the movement and educating the general public about Virtual Reality.

Prajiv Varughese 3D designer at Scapic, conducting a workshop on using Blender.

Explore : The Experience Track

Panning to our Experience Track, with various VR headsets from Rifts to HTC Vives to Oculus Gos with various experiences and games setup across devices. Our attendees were delighted to be transported to the streets of Paris to stomach churning roller coasters.

Just beat it!

A fleet of emotions from being wonderstruck at the moving story of Crow and the bobbing boats of VR Regatta to competitive streaks firing up whilst competing for the highest score on the ever-popular Beat Saber.

Watching people’s eyes light up with astonishment and joy and fielding a sea of questions gave the team real joy in sparking interest in Virtual Reality amongst the participants. It was a heart-warming day watching people interact with VR for the first time.

Make: The Creation Track

After understanding the nuances of Virtual Reality, experiencing the adrenaline of a VR experience, the Scapic team wanted to give our attendees a souvenir they’d never forget, a chance to create a Virtual Reality experience in 5 minutes with our Creation Track.

The participants enjoyed creating their experiences on the Scapic editor; numerous scenes were set, characters added and stories told; all without a single line of code written, all on the browser, experienced in headsets with a single link.

A participant creating a VR tour on Scapic

The crowd may have been mixed but the intent was not, celebrating World Virtual Reality day gave us a chance to explain the industry we care deeply about and in return giving people the chance to create, play and experience Virtual Reality.

From Bangalore to around the world, hosting an event, to interacting with VR Day organizers and attendees in Alt Space; World Virtual Reality Day was definitely a memorable learning experience.

Spreading awareness about the industry and being catalysts between individuals within the industry and novices to the world of VR, Scapic is proud to have been part of the #VirtualRealityDay movement all whilst enabling content creation for new mediums, hopefully we could turn the needle of awareness just a tad and we would like to thank the VR Day organisers’ team & special shoutout to Bob Fine for letting us be part of this movement.

“VR training will prepare our workers for the dirty and dangerous jobs out there.”

There is a future for VR in our lives beyond mere entertainment. VR won’t just let us visit far away places, it will let us work there. It won’t just give us a glimpse of other circumstances and jobs, it will train us for them. VR is here already, but it is just the tip of the iceberg.

Create content for Virtual Reality with zero coding or 3D expertise all on the browser for free at scapic.com

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Namrata N

Namrata N

Decision Neuroscientist working in Sales & Marketing writing about XR technologies.