Positron a VR seat company teamed up with Universal at SXSW to showcase a “Zero Gravity VR Experience” in sync with the studio’s The Mummy reboot.
While it wasn’t anywhere near simulating weightlessness, virtual reality is always a treat to watch. The only con was the content that the viewers were watching.
It has Universal’s setup at SXSW that is flashy and expensive, just as the movie. The audience walks into a non-distinguishable room at a convention center. There they are greeted with a section of an aircraft’s fuselage, along with a life-sized “Egyptian” sarcophagus from the movie. Just behind the curtain are 20 VR seats. They are arranged similarly to seats in a high-end movie theater. These seats are the real star of the show.
The seats are called Voyagers that were debuted by Positron at Sundance this year. It is similar to an Arne Jacobsen egg chair, but it has none of the charm and subtlety. The Voyager contains motors to control pitch and yaw to simulate motion. It also has a built-in Sub par for vibrations, along with a standard Oculus Rift headset and some noise-canceling headphones.
This featurette started with a very impressive demonstration. The audience is made to sit on a plane, it takes off. Owing to its impressive dexterity and vibration motors, the seat in a very effective manner simulates the inertia the audience feels when they are “pinned back” on takeoff. Similarly, as the camera circled around, and the chair swiveled in sync with them, and it provided a real sense of place you don’t get while sitting stationary — it seems an effective way to reduce motion sickness by tricking your body into feeling like it’s moving around.
The part where the demonstration fell to pieces was in the “zero-gravity” sequences. Something definitely happened — the seat tilted back, vibrations cut out, and so on — but in no shape or form did it replicate weightlessness.