In this series of articles, we’re exploring how our work in immersive audio-visual experiences, data-driven artworks, and interactive art can translate to Virtual Reality.
Ease of access is key for brand experiences. WebVR has the potential to bring immersive virtual reality to a wide audience – and for developers and brands to distribute content, independently from commercial platforms and stores.
As web technologies have become more and more powerful, online experiences that are directly accessible and shareable, have won over native mobile apps that lie behind the threshold of download and install. At FIELD, we have explored different platforms over the years and observed the response rates – from our 2010 non-linear film experience Energy Flow (a native iOS and Android app), to City of Drones, a browser-based experience for the Barbican, to our interactive audio-visual journey Unique Flow for Toyota from earlier this year, which you can now experience in WebVR.
The WebVR Open Source API, a toolkit for making virtual reality experiences run directly in the browser, is so far an experimental Open Source release – but a powerful one. Once it’s fully supported, online web experiences will be a fantastic distribution channel: as easy as visiting a website, no software download or setup needed.
Browsers are slowly integrating support for VR, with so far only the developmental version of Google Chrome (Chromium) and Firefox’ Nightly builds supporting WebVR 1.0. For now, the number of people who own a VR headset is fairly marginal, but as one research firm suggests, about 200 million head-mounted displays could be in use around the globe by 2020.
A WebVR experiment: an interactive audio-visual journey through an infinite urban landscape, now in VR running in the browser.
As an experiment, we’ve ported our favourite WebGL project Unique Flow, created for the Toyota C-HR campaign earlier this year, to support WebVR 1.0. If you happen to have a Oculus or HTC Vive around, then get the latest WebVR compatible Chromium build and visit field.io/x/uniqueflow to experience Unique Flow in 3D and 360°.
To see the original (non-VR) version of the artwork created for Toyota C-HR, go to uniqueflow.me.