A seminar is usually one of two things. It is either very engaging or it is boring. There’s very little in the way of middle ground between the two, and if it turns out to be the latter boy is it goign to be difficult to listen to. Fortunately this doesn’t appear to be the case at the Cannes Lions Innovation Festival where yesterday an unusual five-way partnership of Imagination, Hammerhead VR, Major League Baseball (MLB), HTC Vive, and Dell hosted what they are calling “the world’s first free movement mixed reality (MR) presentation.”
Discussions in the interactive seminar focused on two business areas: brand experience and consumer behaviour and how technology such as virtual reality (VR) could potentially utilise such information. However this was before volunteers were invited to take part in a series of tests involving playing ‘catch’ with a ball. Being successful would then trigger changes in the world around them.
“The idea of catching a ball is simple.” Explained Steve Jelley, joint Managing Director of Hammerhead VR. “However, if you take this action into mixed reality, it can become a catalyst for creativity that can blend the physical and virtual worlds into a completely new experience. The possibilities of the Vive Tracker are powerful, and very exciting for us as immersive content creators”
The ball was not a regular sort you’d get at the store however. It was instead a 3D printed soft rubber ball that incased an HTC Vive Tracker. No easy design task as the ball had to be light enough to throw around, soft enough to be safe to actually throw, be something you could physicaly catch, and be able to not just house the Tracker but be open enough for it to be still picked up by the Vive’s lighthouses whilst it’s being tossed around. If the ball suddenly disappeared mid throw you’re going to end up with confusion – and potentially a ball to the face.
The end result took, according to Hammerhead VR, four weeks to develop and 89 hours to 3D print and allowed the team the chance to experiment with people’s expectations as well as alter the environment around them – and even the ball itself.
“The Vive Tracker is an incredibly exciting tool for developers and marketers alike. The technology enables virtually any object to be tracked in the virtual space, from sports equipment to car steering wheels to furniture – there are endless possibilities.” Added Herve Fontaine, HTC Vive’s VP of Business Development. “With the Vive Tracker, it creates an innovative platform for key parts of your brand story to be tracked and represented within VR.”
You can see a short trailer for the session below which shows some of the development that took place. How these developments continue in the future remains to be seen. But should their be any further news we will be sure to cover it on VRFocus.