When is a Desert an Art Gallery?


I’ve been working on a follow-up piece to my article looking at the potential for the Vive Focus in education in the last week and in the process I came to realise that some new apps have launched for HTC’s standalone VR headset. One of these is the remarkable Kremer Collection VR Museum which I actually included in my Top 10 VR Education Apps of 2018 piece for VR Focus. This virtual gallery collates more than seventy works of art from Dutch masters like Rembrandt and was fantastic on the regular HTC Vive. So the thought of getting to try it with no wires or limits was enticing. I just needed more space…

Back when I first got the Vive Focus in April, I did do some tests in larger spaces, including a fun one exploring the classic Winter House model whilst on a netball court at one of our schools but the Kremer Collection offered something far more vast and I wanted to really push the boundaries. Luckily, living in Dubai, I have access to some vast expanses of space – the desert! As such I hatched a plan on Friday evening to venture into the desert and test the Kremer experience fully.

It was quite the experience and truly unique. I had a repeated expectation to see the traditional chaperone boundaries telling me that I was going too far but of course they never appeared. Then there was the odd duality of the sand under my feet offering a different walking experience to the marble floors I was seeing inside VR. Then I walked up the incline of a larger sand dune and found myself starting to levitate inside the gallery’s halls! I was even actually able to snap a couple of images from inside the headset, using the Focus’ built-in screenshot feature:

When I returned home I edited the footage together with screencast clips from the Kremer app (I used Air Server Universal for this by the way – any app that supports Miracast should work though) into a final short film which you can watch below. Huge thanks to my wife Nic for waking up on a Saturday morning to hear me proclaim “I’ve had a crazy idea” and not only being happy to go with it, but also filming the whole thing for me.

Here's the full video, I hope you enjoy it.

I will still be publishing a more general piece on the Vive Focus either later this month or early next year so do keep your eyes peeled for that. If you want to see some more crazy uses of the Vive Focus, take a look at the #FunWithFocus hashtag on Twitter. This little challenge, kicked of by HTC Vive President Alvin Wang Graylin has seen some outrageous stuff happening whilst using the headset including my own contribution - wearing the Focus whilst feeding a giraffe!!

#HTC #ViveFocus #Vive #VR

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