Virtual reality experiences are improving all the time, and in the gaming sector, interaction is evolving at a frantic pace. However, real world VR - virtual representations of real places, taken from video, still lacks that interactivity.
Abi Mandelbaum is the CEO of YouVisit, a platform that gives users, institutions, and businesses the ability to create highly interactive virtual tours, which can be shared with others.
Mandelbaum believes we need genuine, interactive VR, not just 360 degree video, to truly experience a moment.
"Our focus is really on helping to bring the real world into the virtual reality headset," he told Wareable. "What we're noticing is that people want to experience the real thing, and I think the moment has now passed that people are watching these highly processed, set up videos. Now people are looking for that real feel and we are noticing a hunger for genuine virtual reality experiences."
It's all about interaction
"A lot of other companies are putting out VR that is basically 360 video. The user is able to look around the scene, but they have no other control over the experience," Mandelbaum explained. "It deters from the experience, which is why we are focused more on the interactive virtual reality. Using gaze detecting software, for instance, you can find out more about that specific area, but it doesn't distract you from the experience."
Mandelbaum thinks that while hardware controllers could improve the experience, for YouVisit's needs something more universal is required to interact with the virtual world.
YouVisit has created and showcased a variety of VR experiences, including festivals, hotel and restaurant tours and sports events. While 360 degree video would do a good job of recreating the experience, interactive VR adds another level of immersion, allowing the user to explore.
"We built a virtual experience for Tomorrow World [a festival held in the Chattahoochee forests, Georgia]," Mandelbaum said, "Most people haven't been to an electronic music festival that takes a week. With virtual reality, the experience is able to give a pretty good understanding as to the different shows that happen during the week, the different acts and the after parties, but you need that interaction.
"There are a lot of companies that are coming up in the virtual reality space, creating a few minutes of highly edited and produced content," he said, "And that's a decent virtual reality experience, but we're the only ones out there that are taking an interactive approach when it comes to the real world virtual reality experiences."