For the first time in the 30-year history of South by Southwest (SXSW), “reality” technologies—virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)—were presented in the form of a specialized, three-day track open to all badge holders.
With that in mind, I headed down to Austin in advance of MPI’s Experiential Event Series at SXSW to catch up on the latest and greatest in VR as presented by some of the most influential figures in the field. Following are 10 intriguing and inspirational (possibly frightening) notes on the material that should help to open your mind as to the possibilities for your future.
“Can we hack the brain [with VR]? Well, as we’ve heard [today], the answer is yes.” – Walter Greenleaf, distinguished visiting scholar, Stanford University
“What we’re seeing is a fusion of technology, art and engineering.” – Patrick Troutman, senior systems engineer, NASA Langley Research Center
“[With VR] the brain can learn to control a third arm.” – Greenleaf
“I think [experiencing] VR is like exercising a muscle that we never have before.” – Miles Perkins, VP of marketing, Jaunt
Dangers of VR
“Everything in moderation, right? We haven’t had a technology before that lets us tap into [the mind] so richly.” – Nonny de la Peña, CEO, Emblematic Group
“You ever see a really bad movie and have to watch another to sort of clear out your buffer? Imagine that but more profound [with a bad VR experience].” – Greenleaf
“At the professional level, VR will change how we train… Distant learning is more palatable in VR.” – Shawn Dubravac, chief economist and head of research, Consumer Technology Association
“VR is literally stronger than morphine for kids with burns having their bandages changed.” – de la Peña
“Mark Cuban doesn’t believe we’ll like VR experiences in sports.” – Robert Scoble, futurist/technologist
On VR and, well, everything…
“This is a BIG fucking wave coming at us in the next five years!” – Scoble
It was clear that after this first SXSW VR/AR track, the interest by attendees is huge. Look for even more high-profile inclusion of VR, specifically, at SXSW 2017.