philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


‘The Void’ is a VR Experience which Fuses Physical and Virtual Reality Environments

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VRCade and Survios are two leading names in the field of out-of-home, physical virtual reality entertainment experiences that promise to deliver both physical and mental immersion by allowing the player to roam (relatively) freely around a virtual environment using a physical space. In the case of those two systems, player position and movements are tracked in a room-scale arena (albeit a potentially large one) with the world around the player described predominantly through virtual reality. 

The Void is a new startup based in Salt Lake City, Utah which claims to have gone some way in bridging the gap between physical and virtual worlds by building physical stages which match the virtual environment, then putting players inside.

The venture aims to provide Virtual Entertainment Centres (VECs) where people will go and immerse themselves in custom-built arenas (Gaming Pods), wearing untethered virtual reality headsets. 

The system combines proprietary virtual reality headset technology, powered by a player-worn ‘backtop’ (a laptop in a backpack), room-scale tracking with input provided by virtual reality gloves with extra immersion added courtesy of a haptic vest.

The claimed initial specs for the Rapture HMD are:

  • Dual High-Density Curved OLED Displays (1080p per-eye, initially)
  • Quantum Dots (nearly doubling perceived resolution color range)
  • Custom Optics (proprietary lens-in-lens design)
  • High-Quality THX Headphones (featuring in-game binaural sound design)
  • Super-Gain Inline Microphones (for in-game communications)
  • Proprietary Global Head Tracking Sensors (running at 120Hz)

Players will also don a ‘Rapture Vest’, a haptic feedback device which the team claims to allow every virtual interaction to “…have its own hit point…” on the vest.

They also plan to incorporate data gloves...

With players entering ‘The Void’ being placed within specially constructed ‘stages’ (or Gaming Pods as the company calls them) and allowed to apparently move freely around the space, the question of tracking arises. The company claims to be able to offer “… the ability to track natural human body movement at an extremely accurate 1:1 ratio…,” although quite how this is achieved is as yet unclear.

The company is also working on smaller scale, Motion Simulators, which aim to provide a more traditional theme park style ‘sit in’ model, with up to two players wearing VR headsets and potentially “… swappable control devices providing for a variety of simulation experiences …” such as aircraft-dogfights, ground-transport, mech battles etc. 

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