I’m on the train to Zurich airport, where I’ll hop on the direct flight to San Francisco. This evening I’m staying in San Jose, as tomorrow I’ll be visiting the SVVR 2015 expo hall to do some research on the latest virtual reality technologies in advance of the coming weekend’s VR Hackathon (following on from the one in October).
This Hackathon is set to be really fun: while last time I ended up mostly talking with people about Autodesk and the View & Data API, demoing the Google Cardboard prototype I put together – which was also fun, especially when you’re hanging out with Jim Quanci – this time we’re planning to form an Autodesk team to participate in the event. A couple of colleagues from the InfraWorks team in Potsdam are flying in today, too, and we’ll hopefully be joined by a few locals from the 1 Market office who are interested in web-based VR.
The thinking, right now, is to work on some kind of guided VR experience, where you have one person immersed in a model with another person choosing certain options – whether isolating/exploding geometry or switching to specific locations in a site. This could end up being a really interesting application of VR for our industry: as I’ve lamented, in the past, control is often challenging within VR. Sensing technology – such as Kinect or Leap Motion – is certainly one answer, just as voice recognition technology might be another, but having someone else guide the experience will (I believe) lead to a much more social and – dare I say – intimate experience. Something that could really help in a situation where human relationships are important.
Anyway, we’ll see how it goes – it’ll certainly be fun to explore the possibilities. I expect the weekend to be fairly intense: interestingly Monday is a holiday both in the US (Memorial Day) and in Switzerland (Pentecost), so I’ll be get to decompress for a day before heading back home on Tuesday evening.