For many of us, the video above will be the kind of thing that springs to mind when we think of Virtual Reality.
But the concept, once the stuff of ’90s science fiction, now sits at the cutting edge of consumer electronics.
And next month, the Vancouver Convention Centre will be at the centre of the emerging industry, as it hosts tech experts and vendors with the hottest gear and games.
Organizer Robyn Gummer says Consumer Virtual Reality will be the first conference and expo of its kind in the world – bringing the public together with industry leaders.
She says Vancouver’s well established gaming industry and growing tech sector make the event a natural fit.
And she says it’s a chance to cement the city as a leader in the field; her company Archiact Interactive is already one of the largest VR firms in North America, employing 50 people.
“There’s several other companies who are fully dedicated to VR in Vancouver, and some others have smaller VR teams. It really is emerging to be a significant industry in Vancouver.”
Poised for growth
Gummer says interactive games played with high tech goggles like the Oculus Rift tend to get most of the attention when it comes to VR, but she says the market is poised to explode as industries explore its wider potential.
“Gaming is really just the starting point. Virtual reality is applicable in almost any industry. The most common applications right now in medical training, flying simulation, for architecture you can do virtual walkthroughs of buildings, so the applications are honestly endless.”
Fun and games
But Gummer says it’s not all business. The show floor will be packed with interactive games and demos, and a chance to try equipment not yet on the market.
“A lot of the actual VR hardware that’s going to be at CVR is not actually available for consumers yet. So that’s a really exciting thing we’re able to provide.”
“There’s the Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, we’ll have HTC Vive which is something a little harder to get your hands on, and some other VR Arcade demo units which are currently consumer available. Obviously there will be Google Cardboard, and some companies who just want to get their prototypes tested.”
Tickets for the May 14th event range in price from $50-$150 depending on whether you’re a student and how much access you want, and Gummer says she expects them to sell out.
She says she’s hoping the event becomes an annual fixture in the city.