DOCKSIDE JOURNAL ENTRY / March 21, 2018

 3 Virtual Reality Technologies for Your Next Event

by Addison Callaghan, Marketing Manager

 Morton Heilig's "Sensorama" |  TechRadar

Morton Heilig's "Sensorama" | TechRadar

The idea of virtual reality isn’t entirely new; immersive flight simulators were used to train pilots as early as 1929, and let’s not forget Morton Heilig’s “Sensorama” from the 1950s which used a combination of video, sound, small fans, smell generators, and vibrations to as closely as possible recreate a lifelike experience. 

Now VR is becoming more accessible—and super popular. Here are three technologies, both up-and-coming and available now, that will make for an awesome event experience.

Fingo

Fingo is a VR technology that’s currently being developed, but that we see a lot of potential for. It was created by the Silicon Valley-based company USens Inc. and aims to pull you deeper into a virtual world by responding to your hand gestures without using any sort of handheld controller.

 Addison has been with SHW since 2016, and has a background in both business/marketing and technology. When he’s not in the office, Addison loves to try out new hiking trails around Washington, but he’s equally happy testing out some of city’s many microbreweries with a few friends during those rainy Seattle winters.

Addison has been with SHW since 2016, and has a background in both business/marketing and technology. When he’s not in the office, Addison loves to try out new hiking trails around Washington, but he’s equally happy testing out some of city’s many microbreweries with a few friends during those rainy Seattle winters.

One of the biggest challenges in VR is how to seamlessly interact with objects within the experience. Most VR systems now rely on head movements or handheld controllers, but those can be difficult for people with little gaming experience.

Fingo uses cameras mounted on a VR headset to track your fingers and hands in real time so you feel even more immersed in the virtual world. The software understands gestures that allow gamers to click, select, pick up, throw, or move an object—without ever touching a controller.

With VR’s boost in popularity at events, continuing to make the tech more lifelike and user friendly will make attendee experiences way more accessible. Fingo has the potential to be a serious game changer in bridging the gap between the tech-buffs and VR newcomers.

VR Arcades

The VR industry is expected to grow ten-fold over the next two years, so it’s no surprise that new projects are popping up all over the country to capitalize on the craze. Virtual reality arcades now exist in most U.S. cities including New York, Austin, and Los Angeles, as well as right here in Seattle.

They offer lots of options ranging from walking a virtual plank to massive multi-player shoot-em-ups. VR arcades bring back the nostalgia of classic video arcades, but upgrade it with high quality graphics and beer. For the right group, hosting your event in a VR arcade is a great way to make a lasting impression on guests.

Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard might just be the ultimate large-scale virtual reality solution for events or conferences. Cardboard abandons the traditional VR setup that uses a headset with a powerful computer by transforming anyone’s smartphone into its own VR system.

The system is similar to the Samsung Gear VR and Google Goggles, which can run you almost $100, but Google Cardboard has two key differences. First, you can use almost any smartphone, even an iPhone 2.  The second difference is how affordable it can be. Cardboard. It’s right in the name. Rather than using slick (read: expensive) molded plastics and headbands, Google Cardboard uses collapsible cardboard, which means you can get it for under $10, including branding and shipping.

As a budget-conscious event planner, that’s huge. With tech like this, a VR experience doesn’t have to be something experienced by three or four attendees at a time, and instead can be a branded giveaway for hundreds. Now that’s conference swag that’ll get people talking.

Want to learn more about more unique and interesting ways to incorporate technology into your event? You can reach us at info@shworldwide.com, or through our online RFP tool.