This article was published on June 5, 2018

The most exciting VR trends from TNW2018: Sexy headsets, The Mesh, and more

The most exciting VR trends from TNW2018: Sexy headsets, The Mesh, and more Image by: Beto Ruiz Alonso
Ailsa Sherrington
Story by

Ailsa Sherrington

Former Social Media Manager, TNW

Ailsa Sherrington is a former content marketer at TNW. Ailsa Sherrington is a former content marketer at TNW.

Virtual reality and augmented reality are hot topics right now. As we start to see the lines blur between real and virtual worlds, the possibilities become endless. But what will we see next? How big of a role will it play in our lives in the next 50 years?

At the Mixed Realities track at TNW Conference last month, we saw VR and AR experts share their visions for the future. Want a recap? We’ve got you covered.

Alex Wills, Group Management Director at R/GA

Credit: Beto Ruiz Alonso
Alex Wills on stage at TNW Conference

Alex spoke about his experiences with AR so far, and how we’re going to be pushing the limits in the future. He began with a brief discussion of the new marketing opportunities made possible with the tech.

His past projects involved using the Snapchat AR functionalities to market Nike Jordan trainers. By creating a 3D rendering of Michael Jordan jumping into the air right before a slam dunk, people could interact around him. The interesting feature was that it linked directly to Nike’s online webstore, where people could purchase the shoes.

Looking into the future, Alex made reference to Kevin Kelly’s talk at TNW Conference, where he spoke of ‘The Mesh’ — a virtual rendering of the world, where everything was open to AR possibilities. He shared his thoughts on its significance as the next big thing:

The problem with AR right now is that it’s individual and not persistent. We need the AR cloud — ‘The Mesh’ — to create a constant AR world where we can interact with all together, at the same time.

He ended his talk with key takeaways that we should keep in mind about AR and VR’s future. “Scour the startup space,” he advised the audience. “Build a diverse team, experiment, and most of all, experience it.”

Want to hear more about Alex’s insightful talk at TNW Conference? You can watch it right here:

Alice Tomassini, Documentary Film Director

Credit: Beto Ruiz Alonso
Alice Tomassini speaking about VR filmmaking at TNW2018

Alice spoke about the possibilities of VR in the film industry:

With VR we can do things previously unthinkable and now we are in a moment where we must rethink the way we tell stories

She shared with us how creating VR films is the next step in engaging viewers, and how it can be a challenge. There are two fundamental changes with VR filmmaking, according to Alice. The first is the concept of the frame:

Traditionally, you’re able to focus the viewer’s attention with a fixed frame, but you can’t do that with VR. The viewer is free to explore, and so you must guide the viewer’s attention — it requires a wise position of a point of interest.

The second change is the role of the user:

In VR, the user becomes the protagonist of the story. They are in the centre of the atmosphere, and this changes the whole dynamic.

These are things she has learned along the way of creating VR films. The next foray, according to Alice, is the introduction of sound and smell into the experience. This creates an entirely new reinvention of how the user interacts, and of how the frame is changing.

She concluded her talk by sharing her latest project: Soundtouch. It aims to be the first tactile VR video documentary, and it focuses on the sensation of touch.

If you want to see a short clip from this documentary, which centers around a pianist performing with his orchestra, you can watch her talk here:

Vesna Petresin, Mixed Realities Artist

Credit: Beto Ruiz Alonso
Vesna Petresin discussing MR performance art at the Mixed Realities track

Vesna has focused her artwork on mixed realities, ranging from music to dance performances. Each piece is grounded in MR, which expands the audience interaction and experience.

She speaks about her various performances on stage at TNW Conference, and shares her thoughts on how MR can continue to change the way we interact with artwork.

Her more recent work focuses on monitoring the audience engagement — their gestures and voice — to alter the physical performance on stage.

You can watch her talk here:

Ersin Ersinhan, Creative Director at Marshmallow Laser Feast

Credit: Beto Ruiz Alonso
Ersin Ersinhan onstage at TNW Conference

Ersin spoke about his work in a forest in England’s Lake District, titled In the Eyes of the Animal. It centers on seeing the forest through the eyes of different animals. The aim of using VR in this setting is to reinvigorate our connection with nature, and understand how animals see our world in a whole new light.

His project also reinvents the look and feel of headsets, by making them as visually stunning as the experience itself.

You can read a more in-depth explanation of his talk, or watch it yourself right here:

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