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Mobile, Immersive, and High-Quality Virtual Reality Installation

: Astheimer, P.; Felger, W.

TiLE '95. Trends in Leisure and Entertainment. Proceedings
Trends in Leisure and Entertainment <1995, Maastricht>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IGD ()
case study; Roadshow; virtual reality

The goal of this paper is to describe a virtual reality application which requires a mobile installation, and the experience gathered during the preparation, realization, and execution of this project. Recently, high-end virtual reality (VR) has received much attention in the marketing field. Professional advertisement agencies are trying to exploit the fascination in this technology raised within the public. IGD was approached by such an agency and requested to prepare a high-quality VR application, serving as a marketing event for the Schweizerische Bankgesellschaft / Union de Banques Suisses (SBG/UBS), the largest Swiss bank. SBG wanted to attract the Swiss youth in order to promote its Junior Bank Card. This event was held in twelve major Swiss cities during four weeks in May/June, 1994, with daily presentations. The time schedule and the marketing concept required a mobile installation. As "Cyberspace Roadshow" the event was advertised in newspapers and radio spots. This was world wide the first mobile, immersive, high-quality VR installation. The complete VR infrastructure was installed in a large truck. The presentations were performed inside the truck as well. The hardware infrastructure was comprised of an image generator (SGI Crimson/RealityEngine), VR peripherals (head-mounted display, data glove, body tracking systems), a sound generator (SGI Indigo), and a large, stereoscopic rear projection screen using polarizing light. Within such an immersive environment, approximately 40 persons can be involved. Wearing 3D glasses the audience can experience stereoscopic viewing and follow, passively, what one active person is controlling by utilizing the VR devices. For this event IGD created several entertaining virtual worlds using its proprietary VR system. The main idea was that one active player is flying through a tunnel, approaching a switch room with three alternatives: riding through a jungle, playing musical instruments or exploring a space labyrinth. Ea c h player had a time limit of approximately 5 minutes.