The simultaneous arrival of Ready Player One and Kiss Me First confirms that immersive experiences are becoming part of our culture. Although excitable chatter has existed for some years already, there’s a new reason to be inspired: where immersion was once about disconnecting from the real world, tech evolution now means we can better interact with experiences by catering for the whole gamut of our senses.
Somnai from Dotdotdot is a perfect illustration: in addition to the usual VR experience, the overall experience is enhanced with real-life actors and senses like taste and touch are tricked into believing what’s seen.
This ‘layered reality’ approach means VR and AR is moving away from being a relatively static experience where users are seated for a five-minute jump in and out of a virtual scene. Instead, users can now move around and explore their virtual or augmented environments, with a mix of physical sensory add-ons that complement experiences whether head-sets are on or off.
As always with bleeding-edge tech, innovation hasn’t caught up with ambition. Flies in the ointment include glitchy fogging, fields of vision and latency issues. Although it’s not yet perfect, smart brands understand its potential and are wisely jumping on board.
That’s incredibly exciting for Amplify because it adds another aspect to our storytelling. Creative people realised the printing press could be used for more than propagating the bible, so what potential will today’s creatives find in immersive?
From Marshmallow Laser Feast’s Treehugger experience subtly educating people about environmentalism, to our client MelodyVR bringing gigs to the masses and the National Gallery of Prague combining VR with haptics to help visually impaired people ‘touch’ and ‘feel’ sculptural masterpieces; immersive tech is reaching a point where its true creative potential can be realised.