Restart Radio: Sustaining Virtual Reality

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Virtual Reality (VR) has been heralded as ‘the next big thing’ for a couple of years now. But its relatively slow start has people asking questions about how ‘big’ it will really be.

This week, we investigate ways in which consumer VR might feed into our throwaway economy, or alternatively, ways in which VR might help us imagine more sustainable futures. We take a look at the three main higher-end models currently on the market, as well as the history of VR ideas, starting with a short story in 1935!

VR has a long way to go before it is a staple feature of UK homes. With sets costing up to £800 and some requiring high-end computers, for most, it seems the best way to try out VR is in exhibition contexts.

Janet recalls VR installations at the Björk Digital exhibition, and Lauren had a go at the ‘Energy Renaissance’ VR project at Somerset House exhibition ‘Space to Breathe’ last weekend. We spoke to Andy Franzkowiak, one of the creative minds behind ‘Energy Renaissance’.

Andy explains that patience is crucial in the world of VR, and that time needs to be put into ensuring that the quality of material produced for VR matches the quality of the equipment. Could VR be the perfect antidote to our obsession with throwaway gadgets, rapid stimulation and fast-paced change?

Finally, we take a brief look at 3D sound and its potential both as a supplement to VR, and as an experience in its own right.

Links to things we discussed:

[feature image by Flickr user Marco Verch]

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