To trace the origins of virtual reality and augmented reality, how far back do you think we need to go? The answer may surprise you: these technologies actually began to emerge in the early 1970s, with many early applications developed for either industrial uses or military training.
Augmented reality tech has improved steadily over the years, ramping up much faster since the mid-2000s: back then, an AR image could only be triggered by a 2D marker via a webcam hooked up to a desktop computer. Today, a typical personal mobile device is powerful enough to deliver a similar experience.
Over the past couple of years, mixed reality – sometimes called hybrid reality – has begun a rapid ascent. This immersive technology which blends the physical and digital worlds has given event organisers a number of new tools with which to create new and highly engaging event experiences.
For example, four months ago, we rolled out the first mixed reality experience using a Microsoft HoloLens – a head-mounted display that provides a mixed reality experience to users – at an event showcasing futuristic training techniques for security agencies.
The guests used the tech during an interactive experience during which they role-played a security officer searching for contraband hidden inside a car.
Via the HoloLens, they inspected a virtual 1:1 scale car – they could look inside, flip and rotate the virtual car and even open the rear storage compartment with a hand gesture to look for the hidden contraband.
The experience showcased the enormous potential of VR, AR and MR technologies, showing how an object that cannot be physically placed in a certain spot can be projected, manipulated and inspected by enlarging or rotating it.
For events, this is a game-changing capability: now, multiple products can be showcased in 3D with no spatial restrictions at all.
Australian tech company Euclideon Holographics is taking the technology a step further. Two months ago, they showcased a hologram table with a possible shipping date in the first quarter of 2018. The table projects a 3D hologram of an object above it, allowing multiple viewers to view and manipulate the "floating" object from all sides with the aid of a lightweight pair of glasses fitted with sensors.
These emerging technologies will soon allow us to see, examine and manipulate projections just like characters in sci-fi movies like Star Wars and Avatar. The potential for enhancing product displays, providing engaging educational elements and immersive gamification at future events is practically unlimited. It’s time to get ready – things are about to get very interesting!
Jed Mok has been a veteran in the creative scene with over 20 years of experience. In 2004, Jed took on leadership of the corporate events division at Pico Singapore, subsequently making major contributions to conceptualising and implementing experiences for a wide spectrum of clients. From 2013, he led Creative and Strategy Planning at Pico Creative Lab, a new division that consolidates Pico Singapore’s creative services. In this new role, Jed devises marketing strategies and develops made-to-measure creative content for brand experiences.
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