The Virtual Reality Arcade opens in the Kreativspeicher M28 in Hamburg’s Speicherstadt from mid February – initially on Fridays and Saturdays (1 pm to 9 pm). Then, the public can try out diverse VR applications, listen to a concert on a space station, play Tower Tag, an e-sports game in which the players compete against each other in a flying city, or go on a skyride i.e. a virtual flight over Hamburg in a real gondola in one-hour tours.
Co-operation with DESY
The tour also includes an edutainment experience for which DESY and Spice VR have come up with “The Gate” together. “Users experience the expansion of the universe and travel through the solar system into the cells of a human body, where enzymes are formed interactively,” said Nicolas Chibac, CEO of SpiceVR and co-founder of the Virtual Reality Head Quarter (VRHQ), which is on three floors of the building.
Supporting VR in commerce, science and politics
Founded in August 2018 by the Hamburg-based VR start-ups NoysVR, SpiceVR, Spherie and the VR Nerds, the VRHQ aims to become Europe’s top VR hub. “Meantime, we have positioned ourselves well and created a unique space in which commerce, science, politics and the public come together,” said Chibac. Weekly events aim to convey VR ideas to industry and schools. The Hamburg University of Applied Science’s (HAW) Research and Transfer Center Digital Reality occupies an entire floor in the building.
Real versus virtual world
“We show what is possible today, what might be possible tomorrow and develop suitable business cases at VRHQ,” said Chibac. New technologies like VR and Augmented Reality offer fascinating opportunities. But it is important to deal intensely with these possibilities and to query them, Chibac stressed, adding: “What can we expect in ten to 20 years? The technology may be good enough to fool the human brain and we will hardly be able to distinguish virtual and real worlds.”
VR headsets to replace mobile phones?
The technology behind the headsets has undergone rapid change – from heavy, wired VR headsets to much lighter standalone models that function without a mobile phone or computer. “More and more VR headsets will be used in entertainment and industrial environments while AR headsets may become our daily companion and replace mobile phones,” said Chibac. This may result in a single headset which is suitable for both virtual and AR experiences.
Prototypes of smart AR contact lens
The U.S. startup Mojo Vision recently presented a prototype of a smart *AR contact lens at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. “This certainly doesn’t allow for big immersive experiences, but navigational or meteorological data can be inputted easily,” said Chibac. Asked about the next big thing after headsets and contact lenses, Chibac said: “The next step would be docking onto brain waves. Yet, that’s really a long way off.”
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