I’m sitting in the corner of the Lowe Profero kitchen, as two incredible races happen around me. The first is taking place in front of my eyes, as I sit in the pilot’s seat of a Red Bull Air Race, swooping triumphantly through the air. The craft lurches upwards in a sudden loop-the-loop and my stomach jumps and shifts around despite the fact I haven’t moved an inch. The second race takes place behind the scenes, as the Oculus Rift and the Vive hurtle towards a consumer release in 2015.
Solomon Rodgers, the Founder and MD of Virtual Reality company Rewind FX, is excitedly animated as he tells us of these future developments. “We’re expecting a big 2015 release as these technologies begin to hit the mainstream. When one of them pulls the trigger, the rest won’t want to be left behind. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a host of VR tech out in time for Christmas.” As a digital creative, I’m interested in how we might incorporate this cutting edge tech in order to sell brands, to perhaps do something that has never been done before. Solomon is eager to clear up misconceptions.
“Bad content is bad content no matter what the medium. It’s as simple as that. VR itself is going to change so many things, but there will always be good and bad content. It’s developers, designers and programmers who will be able to create incredible experiences.”
He stresses the word experience.
“There’s a difference between viewing something and experiencing it. It’s the difference between viewing sex and having it yourself. An experience is always going to be something else.”
I try another VR experience – this time using the Samsung Galaxy Gear. I’m walking around a house, looking at the pictures on the wall, the details on the soap in the bathroom. It’s just a simple tech demo and not quite there yet; I somehow walk into a wall, the edges of objects dissolve and open up to their black unrendered interiors. And yet, I’m there, I’m feeling totally transported to another world.
I ask Solomon if he can see people walking around virtual shops; buying from their living room. He thinks for a moment. “I can see a service where you select an outfit and watch it modelled like a catwalk show. You could pick the clothes you were interested in and then experience them worn right in front of you.”
Whatever experiences are released over the coming months, VR is the next big thing. We look at it, so cutting-edge and yet in its infancy, like a black and white television from the 1930s. As with all new technologies, the hard progress of engineers and scientists will soon be populated with the bright dreams of artists and visionaries. As a creative, and as an individual, this is a future I can’t wait to explore.