Everyone’s talking about virtual reality (VR) these days—especially with Pokemon GO taking the planet by storm—and people are rushing to explore potential applications for VR in everything from journalism to entertainment. Artist Keiichi Matsuda has his own ambivalent, if not dire, ideas how virtual reality might change society. At Wichita State University (WSU), designers are using a new immersive VR installation to create giant mockups of their projects.
The experience is different from the head-mounted devices used for video games. The setup features a floor space that’s 19 feet by 10 feet wide, flanked by two 10 foot by 10 foot screen. 12 projectors fill the surfaces with a digital model.
Designers using the “The Cave” wear a set of motion-sensing glasses that track their gaze around the space. However, unlike wearing video goggles, this means a group of collaborators can see the simulation together. WSU virtual reality lab manager Jeff Fisher told Digital Trends, “Systems like this are meant for collaboration. Typically we have 3 to 15 people [including] the client in the Cave at once.” It also allows them to walk and move naturally, a problem video game designers and filmmakers haven’t completely figured out yet.
The setup also includes a “wand” that can be used to take measurements or make notes in the virtual space. As the technology continues to advance we will likely see new ways for artists and designers to see their work in life-size 3D while still in the concept stage.