WIRED 2015: Next Generation is our annual event dedicated to inspiring young minds, where innovators aged 12 to 18 years old gather at London’s Tobacco Dock for talks, hands-on workshops and Q&As. For more from the event head to our WIRED NexGen Hub.
VR might be the entertainment buzzword of the moment, but we’re going to see it overtaken by new technology very soon, according to an expert in creating virtual experiences.
“It can go so much further. We’ve only just begun with the virtual reality phase,” Robin McNichols, the director of Marshmallow Laser Feast — a London-based design studio — told WIRED 2015 NextGen at Tobacco Dock. “Just around the corner is the augmented reality phase.”
Computers will soon be advanced enough that they can “track humans” without the need for “ping pong ball suits,” according to McNichols. This will make it much easier for artists, designers and computer scientists to create augmented reality experiences that involve the whole body — not just the eyes.
“We’re trying to break down the rectangular environment of the screen,” said McNichols. And this includes the 360 screens of VR headsets.
Marshmallow Laser Feast has been experimenting with 360, immersive experiences since it was founded in 2011. “We work at the intersection of art, science and technology to interesting experiences,” McNichols explained. Marshmallow Laser Feast has used drones, light shows, whole room installations and lots of lasers in that effort and there is more to come. Its recent projects include a VR experience in Grizedale Forest that let participants explore as a midge, dragonfly, owl and frog, and a giant, inflatable husky light show that was made for a Miley Cyrus concert.
McNichols finished his talk at NextGen with some tips for the audience: “Don’t be scared of technology, totally embrace it, ask loads of questions, and ask for help.”