The virtual reality (VR) bubble is one that refuses to burst. The promise that was presented in the 1980s may never have been delivered upon, but here in the era of high-definition (HD) and mobile computing pushing beyond the boundaries of super computer technology from that time, we have a revitalised faith in the sector. This is evident nowhere more so than at the Silicon Valley VR (SVVR) meet-up, hosted by Karl Krantz, Nana Usui and Bruce Wooden (aka Cymatic Bruce).
“Cymatic Bruce, the co-organiser, and I had online in forums during the waiting period for the [Oculus] Rift. We’re both long time fans of VR and we got together for coffee a couple of times; started talking about putting something together – getting a group of people together – and seeing if there were other people excited about this technology.” Humbly stated Karl Krantz when discussing the origins of SVVR with VRFocus. “We wanted to get a bunch of developers and people who are interested in the technology in the same place. Just something to keep us occupied while we waited for the Oculus Rift; something which I think we’ve all experienced – the waiting!”
Despite it’s infancy SVVR has already played host to some important and influential products and persons. Speakers travel from far-and-wide to present at SVVR safe in the knowledge that, while not everyone in the room may appreciate their offering, they are presenting to a key demographic. Developers or fans, everyone in this room is an influencer.
Krantz is decidedly understated about the success of SVVR. He acknowledges that the event is just one of many meet-ups happening throughout the globe and even in the local area. He is proud of the achievements SVVR has made however, and rightly so.
“We based it on the Homebrew Computer Club, which is kind of historic… the place where the first original Apple was revealed by Steve Jobs and [Steve] Wozniack. That was all local in this area.” Offers Krantz, ensuring that his influences receive their dues. “Half of our event is presenters – people giving talks, telling us about their Kickstarters, telling us about their research – and the second half of the event is our open demo time. We reconfigure the room, everyone sits around and gives [attendees] their demos, and it creates this very natural networking environment. People can stand around in a group and talk while waiting to try someone’s demo. It’s not a forced networking situation like some meet-ups will have, it’s just a very natural place for people to come in and talk about what they’re seeing.”
VRFocus‘ experience of SVVR was a very encouraging one. The event began with a demo of MakeVR by Sixense before moving on to a discussion of the Crystal Cove version of the Oculus Rift headset. It was both informative and informal, allowing connections with casual enthusiasts and homebrew developers, as well as the companies driving forward VR technology. When putting this to Krantz he acknowledges that this has been an evolution of the SVVR not due to his work alone, but also the enthusiasm of the VR community.
“We recognise that VR is a revolutionary technology and is going to change the world – it’s going to change everything – and so we wanted a place where people who are excited about that could come together and brainstorm, share ideas and talk about it.” Offers Krantz.
SVVR meet-ups take place every month at the Hacker Dojo in Mountain View, California. You can find more details on the event at the official website, svvr.com. VRFocus will bring you more details on the SVVR meet-ups as the continue to promote the SVVR community.
Karl Krantz is the creator of VR Launchpad and has recently launch a Jobs Board for VR specialists. Cymatic Bruce is a VR evangelist and regular contributor to RoadtoVR.com. Together they work with Nana Usui to organise SVVR as a monthly gathering for all VR enthusiasts.