Review: A World of Pure Imagination – A first look at Imagination’s Hyper- Reality VR Experience

ok to use imaginationVirtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality have come on leaps and bounds since I first started at FMBE several years ago. I have lost count of the amount of times I have been given a few instructions, strapped into a headset, and left to my own devices. These experiences are usually fully immersive, well executed and very believable, but being transported to a new reality can also be dull, isolating and leave the user feeling vulnerable and still very conscious of the busy world around them.

I was invited to be one of the first to experience Imagination’s new Hyper-Reality Experience, a fully immersive (and I mean fully immersive) journey which I, and two other participants, embarked on as a team.

The experience was curated to take guests on a journey, engaging all the senses and transporting them to a new world, without the participants leaving the room. Ben Callis, Imagination’s Creative Director, led us through the experience while the surrounding team (unbeknownst to us) brought it to life with the different effects.

in the cube copyIn preparation for the journey, I was strapped up to a backpack, a headset, given controllers and told to close my eyes. I was carefully lead into the experience and told to open them. I had arrived in a virtual world, along with my team mates and Ben. This new reality was fully immersive I could see and interact with the avatars of my team at all times, ensuring a sense of security and playfulness. We embarked on the journey together which included venturing up a mountain, testing our nerves on a rickety bridge and completing a time challenge all while taking a few selfies. All senses were engaged, the smell of the fresh trees, the feel of the wind and the creaky bridge below our feet all helped to suspend our disbelief and really enjoy the this new world.

The collaborative was a real insight to what technology, theatre and talent can create. Imagination harnessed the expertise of its partners The Mill, Grand Central Recording Studios and Bompas and Parr to bring the concept to life. At the heart of Imagination’s Hyper-Reality VR experience is the Immerse VR platform. Developed by London-based VR technology company Immerse.io, the platform allows multi-user, interactive collaboration across both VR headsets and web browsers.

After the experience, the teams gave us a look behind the scenes and explained the making of the journey and demonstrated how they had worked together to bring the vision to life. The team at Imagination explained how the kit can be packaged up to transport it anywhere in the world, making it a ready-to-go brand experience which isn’t confined to Imagination’s Labs. The team aim to launch the Hyper-Reality VR in 18 months. I look forward to seeing how this experience develops over time and which brands are the first to take their audience on the immersive journey.

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