To push and pull a design based on decisions made while “inside” of the space is remarkable. When presented with the full-scale version of their design for the very first time, every architect sees decisions they would like to change. If they’re seeing it for the first time after construction, it’s too late. In VR, it almost never is.
Alex Coulombe was asked to write about using VR for Architecture by IBM thinkLeaders. Read the article here!
From Friday June 23rd to Sunday June 25th I participated in the second annual NYC WebVR hackaton hosted by Sketchfab and Hugh Seaton. With my team of Thomas Van Bouwel, Sam Spaeth, and Maxwell Foxman, we had 36 hours to design and build a compelling WebVR application from scratch.
We decided to create a compelling 'classroom' WebVR experience that would allow users to simply go to a web link and find themselves in a multi-user VR classroom. At first we tried to implement the Altspace SDK to take advantage of their existing infrastructure, but a key component of our vision was that the room's 'teacher' would have speaking privileges and control when the 'students' could talk (they'd be muted by default).
So instead, we built the multi-user system ourselves using a number of technologies including Aframe and WebRTC. In the end we had a beautiful little campfire scenario with the following setup:
Here's Sketchfab's write-up on the event featuring a very surly photo of yours truly:
Here's the WebVR experience:
Here's more information on the development:
We hope the WebVR community builds upon what we started and finds ample opportunity to implement this.
The Vive Tracker simplifies development of virtual reality experiences and allows people to track everything from ceiling fans and kittens, to feet and mobile phones.
Today we add a few new gadgets to our office menagerie. From left to right:
1) The Acer Mixed Reality Headset for Windows. We're super lucky to get our hands on this so early. This will be sent to developers in the Fall and will likely be available to consumers before Christmas. At $300, it will work natively with a ton of Windows apps (based out of their Mixed Reality Portal) and it features inside-out tracking, meaning no need for the stations required by Oculus and Vive. Even though it feels like you're strapping a ski-boot to your head, I love that the visor easily flips up, making dev work way easier. Downside? No hand controllers yet so we're back to the days of an X-Box controller.
2) Samsung Gear VR 2017 - Featuring the new hand controller which allows for experiences similar to what Google Daydream has had since November. I like the ergonomics of the hand controller better than Daydream, but I still prefer the Daydream headset over this one. The GearVR never quite feels like it's sitting right on my face, and nothing ever feels as in focus for me as it does in Daydream.
3) Samsung Galaxy S8+ - Necessary for the new GearVR. This is a beautiful phone, and I'm trying to restrict our use of it to purely development and demos. Our last VR phone became someone's work phone, and they were very sad every time someone needed it.
4) Gear360 - Sporting two 180 degree fisheye lenses, it takes full monoscopic 360 video and pictures. Thinking we might use it for site visits and capturing the occasional demo event. A little disappointed in the resolution, but we got it for $50 as part of the Galaxy S8+ promotion, so no real complaints.
...the VR demonstrations suggested a different kind of engagement with new technology, perhaps leveraging it to provide something tangible (or at least the illusion of tangibility) where previously renderings and imagination would have to do.
From June 8-10, 2017, Agile Lens attended the Theatre Communications Group Annual Conference, this year given the titular heading 'Full Circle.' There they partnered with sister firm Fisher Dachs Associates to show off their latest advances in using immersive technology for theater design.
The demonstration consisted of two parts: teaching designers to build something in Tilt Brush using a stage as a reference, then dropping that design into a full theater.
Once in the full theater, the participant was able to utilize the Vive Tracker to position a real chair in virtual space, allowing them to seamlessly stand up, sit down, and move around the space, looking at the theater, their design, and the designs of others.
And oh, hey, we got a write-up in Oregon Arts Watch.
Everyone had a blast, and it looks like Agile Lens is going to be back for next year!