Museums. Festivals. Hospitals. Escape Rooms.
Virtual reality has already taken over these places in Denver. It is not stopping there. Over the past few years, VR has been present in the entertainment industry and it has grown rapidly since then. The Denver Film Festival recently had a unique VR experience that had to stay open after hours because people could not get enough of it. The program called Spheres captivated audiences along with critics at several different film festivals including Venice. It invites viewers to take a narrated trip around the cosmos. As soon as you put the goggles on, you are transported back to a beautiful animation that shows you everything the earth has gone through from the Big Bang right up until today.
This simulation was created by Eliza McNitt and produced by Darren Aronofsky from ‘Black Swan’ fame. It creates a powerful experience that changes the way film is perceived at these film festivals. When the film festival returns in November there will be eight separate virtual reality exhibitions for fans to enjoy. Four more will be provided by Reality Garage, a market space that produces its own VR content.
Many global players like Facebook and Sony have shown an interest in VR technology. It has given a platform for VR artists to keep on creating innovations. Investors are scrambling to invest in companies that produce VR programs because the projected global market is said to increase from $8 billion in 2018 to $44.7 billion in 2024. Another contributing fact to the scramble is the fact that VR/AR technologies are not just limited to the entertainment industry. It is already being used in classrooms and hospitals. It has shown to take care of the mundane things we don’t always find solutions for.
One of the benefits of VR is that it is completely mobile and a VR headset can already be bought at major retailers. Many people are apprehensive about bringing VR into the home but once they see more VR exhibitions, like the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum at the Denver Museum of Natural Science, they will be more open to the idea. It might seem strange or be concerning at first when a child has been hooked up to wires to have fun instead of playing outside, but for many children, it opens up a new world that they won’t be able to visit otherwise.
Parents in Denver are already receiving Christmas lists with VR headsets as requests. These range from $100-$1,500 in price which can be steep for many but as Lauren Cason, creative director of Meow Wulf, says it is an exciting opportunity for both the company and the children. Meow Wulf is a company that is currently researching VR technology can blur the lines between reality and fantasy in their VR playgrounds. She further says that smartphones are already being turned in VR devices. The technology is there; it is just a question of developing it into fun and exciting experiences.