VR startup adds new skin to real world

AUTHOR: Inavate

Tech startup Wild has become the latest company to blend virtual reality with the physical world. The project uses a dedicated environment that serves as a physical framework that the user can explore while interacting with a virtual overlay as seen through a VR headset. WILD is initially aiming its creation at the marketing and visitor attraction markets.

Merging real and virtual environments is a popular concept at the moment, with several companies such as Surreal Vision - a company recently acquired by Oculus Rift – and VOID (Vision Of Infinite Dimensions) developing similar projects.

US-firm Wild’s prototype has been built in its offices in Oregon and allows a user to open a door into a world where they can speed up and slow down traffic outside the office’s virtual window and change the weather with the flick of a 'real' switch. The explorers can interact – or in some cases eat – things that exist in both the real and virtual world such as popcorn.

Wild’s prototype uses a Samsung Gear VR headset with integrated smartphone. Multiple sensors track the whereabouts of the user, and establishes their interaction with the items in the space. It is these interactions with real world objects that ‘grounds’ the experience for the user, developers believe, and ultimately makes it more believable.

Wild describes itself as a firm that provides creative technology for branded environments and live events. Earlier in the year it launched an interactive game called CTRL ALT PDX which was installed on 750 square feet (or more than nine million pixels) of storefront windows in Wild’s hometown of Portland.