It takes two to VR

Date a cyborg and ski against a pro in real life, sort of.

cyborg-dating-964x644There’s an elephant in the room. We’re all excited for the opportunities that technology brings to us, but we’re also afraid we’re becoming a zombie society, connected to the digital world but disconnected from each other. Which is why, when virtual reality experiences like “cyborg dating” are developed, we can’t help but want to jump on board (even if it does sound bizarre).

What’s cyborg dating, you ask? Well, the term was coined by Dutch researcher Sander Veenhof and game designer Rosa Frabsnap and is when one person wears a virtual reality headset while the other does not. They are then given the task to navigate their way through, for example, a virtual forest (as you might suspect, only one of them can actually see the forest, while the other must help to avoid crashing into pedestrians and buildings as they explore the virtual world within the physical world’s city streets). Both parties experience different surroundings, yet they connect by building a sense of trust through human guidance. It gives blind dates a whole new meaning.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 4.40.05 PMThen there’s this new simulator that allows two people to ski beside one another, thanks to the magic of virtual reality. The prototype technology was reported on by BBC News earlier this week, with reporter Dan Simmons going head to head against a professional skier. Simmons stayed indoors in the warmth of a cabin, while the pro hit the top of the mountain. The skier’s GPS coordinates from his mobile phone were transmitted to the VR simulator so that both could ski together in real-time. Using goggles and a VR headset, they could each see where they were on the (virtual and physical) hill, just like in a video game. Click here to watch a video on their match.

It’s these types of dual VR experiences that make us want to put on our marketing thinking caps and imagine how brands can make their own. For example, it could be used as promotional tool for a new Hollywood film. Directors could use the real-time dual-viewing experience while on set of a flick, with anyone being able to watch scenes with the films characters from his/her viewpoint.