As architects, we are constantly trying to express our vision of a design to our clients using drawings, colored perspectives, sketches, and scaled models. But despite our best efforts, there has always been a missing link between the design and how it will truly look and feel in the built environment: Scale. No matter how many times you view the plans and details, or how well you know the locations and adjacencies of spaces, it is difficult to feel the true sense of scale and volume within a space until it is actually built. And as we well know, by then it is often too late and/or far too expensive to make revisions to the design.
Marmon Mok is proud to announce that the most recent addition to our technology arsenal comes in the form of the HTC Vive Virtual Reality platform. We are excited to offer this technology, and to provide our clients with a real feel of space, design and materials before their structure has even broken ground. Our clients can finally experience depth and scale of spaces during design, allowing them to provide feedback at this critical phase of their project. If the ceiling feels too low or a railing too high, our clients are able to see these potential issues far in advance, saving time, cost, and stress down the road.
The idea of “virtual reality” can be traced back to the 1930s, when it was first mentioned in Stanley G. Weinbaum’s science fiction story, Pygmalion’s Spectacles. The 50’s and 60’s brought us the Sensorama and Head mounted display by Ivan Sutherland. In the 80’s, Sega brought us the Master System 3D glasses. And in the 90’s, Nintendo tried their hand at VR, with its 3D red and black based headset, the Virtual Boy.
In just the past year, we have seen exponential growth in this field, with the release of the Google Cardboard, Samsung’s Gear, and Oculus Rift. These tools have taken a huge step in providing consumers with a truly immersive virtual reality experience unlike any we have seen before. The only drawbacks to these systems is that they only provide a stationary point of view which does not allow the user to navigate the virtual world. These systems also require a smartphone to operate and the user can only see one scene at a time.
Fast-forward to today.
HTC has recently released the HTC Vive platform to the general public, which in conjunction with the Iris Prospect VR software, this headset is designed with “room scale” technology, allowing us to use sensors to turn a room into a 3D space. This allows users to navigate through their virtual world in a way that is natural to their senses, with the ability to walk around and use motion tracked handheld controllers to manipulate objects, interact with precision, communicate, and experience this immersive virtual environment.