A few days ago I tried a virtual reality app called VR Japan. It is a simple walking simulator app in virtual reality where you can walk in a quite photorealistic environment inspired by real Japanese locations.
The reason I wanted to try it is because I wanted to get the feeling and understanding of how VR technology can be used for certain areas like travel , relaxation apps, virtual tours, etc.
Although the app itself was very limited in what you can do with it–basically just walk (more precisely blink)–it was inspiring.
I already imagined being able to “visit” certain real world places by visiting the virtual replica of these places. That can be places which otherwise aren’t open for tourists, are hard to get to, very expensive to attend or other reasons that might prevent on from being able to experience them.
For example, there are very sacred temples in Japan that as a tourist I am not allowed to enter. But if there was a virtual replica, I can just visit it.
I also thought about how amazing it would be, if all of us will have a very advanced 3D scanning capability in our mobile phones, which allows us to create a 3D model of an area and share it online for others to see. A photogrammetry tool in our pocket that we can use any time.
For example, imagine that you want to create a virtual replica of the interior of your home and share it online so people on Airbnb or other rental websites can see how it see. This instead of having a 360-degree video or image. Imagine that this can be something that is available for many hosting entries on Airbnb, that would be cool. Or having this for hotels and other places where people want to see ahead of time how a certain place looks like before booking or something.
Think it’s far in the future–think again. We are actually there. For example, check out Matterport. They sell a professional Pro2 3D Camera that can do just that, but the current price is of around 3K is expensive for many. Having said that, they have an app for the iPhone. A revolutionary app to capture space in 3D and “share immersive 3D digital twins of any space with friends, family, and colleagues“.
It’s great for 3D scanning homes, apartments, hotels, commercial buildings, etc.
This 3D model distribution is something that will become social and common very soon. The phrase “I wish you can be here” will become part of our new (virtual) reality.
Developers will be able to use these types of 3D scanning to actually create 3D assets for their apps and games. No need to spent a lot of money on 3D assets for some of their apps or entirely rely on 3D model asset stores. They can wake up in the morning, go our when not many people are out, and scan urban environments for their FPS game for example. Wouldn’t it be cool to actually play a game in an area that looks exactly like the real one!
So this VR Japan app can be just a single entry share on a single person in a shareable space or integrated in current social apps like Rec Room. Even kids can create their own space and invite their friends to their room in virtual reality and play a game together without actually them needing to be physically in the real place. Great for these time right. If someone “can’t come over”, invite them to come to your home in VR!
This simple VR Japan app really triggered my imagination and I already found many type of solutions that I haven’t thought about before by just conceptualizing what’s possible using VR technology. I love experiencing with VR, like I did with AR. There is a lot to discover and learn, especially for someone who are relatively new to VR. But as I invested in AR, I will do the same to VR to learn more about what’s possible with this amazing medium.