Being able to step out of your comfort zone and enjoy an experience outside of normal expectations is, in anyones opinion, an adventure ready to be explored. Now Imagine as you walk through a peaceful garden and see breathtaking illustrations gracefully float down from above your head. As you walk under large, overhanging tree branches, you look up only to see giant glowing neon jellyfishes gently pulsate as they descend down from the leaves above getting close enough to reach out and touch.
The catch to this whole experience is, the jellyfish is not actually real and nor is the tree.
In fact, none of the objects or occurrences in this garden are real, but rather digital graphics projected in your augmented reality goggles. Despite these facts and even though you are only wearing goggles, it is difficult to not be entirely pulled into this experience and feel fully immersed.
“Jellyfish Abstract” by Andy Thomas part of The Unreal Garden
While this used to be something only for private art exhibits, museums, and special events, it is now being mainstreamed and becoming more widely available to the public. The experience described above is a brief description of the Enklu’s presentation of The Unreal Garden that was open to all attendees of this year’s E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo).
The garden is encompassed in a physical real world garden and allows users to walk around ponds, trees, and structures as they normally would, but with a twist incorporating interactive artworks that become part of the immersive experience. The exhibit utilizes the Microsoft Hololens headset which allows users to walk freely in the environment becoming one with the digital elements.
VRSCOUT | The Unreal Garden at E3 2019
The Unreal Garden is an interactive multiplayer augmented reality experience set in an open environment which was a combined effort between OneDome, Enklu, and the talented artists to immerse its users in a digital world while displaying artwork from creators from all around the world.
This lets the users experience the augmented artwork while having haptic feedback technology stations (Utrahaptics) around the garden for users to use hand motions to interact with digital elements. This is a shared physical environment with other users, foliage, and physical objects allowing everyone to collaborate and interact with the virtual artwork, as they walk around. Together as people travel through the psychedelic forest, it creates a unique interactive social experience encouraging creativity and sparking imaginations.
Algorithm.ie | Dublin, Ireland | Creative Studio Attending The Immersive Art Festival
A unique approach to an immersive augmented reality experience is at the Aterlier Des Lumières museum located in Paris, France. The museum houses many augmented reality exhibits operated by Culturespaces. They utilize a system that they developed appropriately name AMIEX® (Art & Music Immersive Experience), which uses high resolution image projectors to illuminate the walls with artwork of any venue which is then synced to music creating an impactful event. With the use of this technology, visitors are taken on a journey through a digital environment which allows them to become one with the interactive artwork and exhibit. Starting October 18 through October 24 of this year, the museum will host the Immersive Art Festival which will include artwork from artists all over the world to utilize their system and create an experience that hasn’t been seen before at this scale.
One of the more mainstream approaches and uses of these technologies is the virtual reality interactive zones by The Void (Vision of Infinite Dimensions) which has partnered with Sony Pictures, Disney, and Marvel. This has allowed them to be able to create unique virtual reality experiences where people can use full virtual reality headsets, feedback vests, and handheld controllers to go through simulations and interactive areas.
The VOID | An Immersive Virtual Reality Experience
As you take your first steps into the Star Wars galaxy in Disney’s Star Wars augmented reality experience , you get a rush of excitement as you assume the role of a Stormtrooper subject to visual and haptic feedback so immersive, you can’t help but feel like you’re really fighting for your life. Aside from the full virtual reality experience, there are many added physical elements to trick your sense. Walking across a digital pathway stretching across a platform you get a refreshing breeze as if you were overlooking the clouds below or approaching fire and lava, things get a little heated. Disney and The Void have done a great job making the virtual reality graphics feel as if they were real life, physical elements. Things like having to pick up a blaster rifle, matching the digital world with the real world and adding the extra weight of the gear really brings the experience together.
The vest and gear are not just props; they are also a part of the system as well with sensory response engines built into them. Small pulses are generated creating a shocking feeling in the vest if any contact is made in the virtual reality environment, and the blaster rifles have similar mechanisms vibrating when triggered in the real world. One of the great parts of the virtual reality system is that they utilize not only the VR headset, but also your hands. All hand movements are tracked and synced using the Leap Motion system connected to a computer inside the backpacks making you feel more a part of the visuals. Combining these elements together – digital, virtual, and physical – creates the illusion of being fully immersed in a futuristic world straight from your imagination.