SIGGRAPH 2020: Taking a look at the Experience Hall

Aug 24, 2020 at 10:00 am by nemirc

SIGGRAPH 2020: Think Beyond

While waiting for the rest of SIGGRAPH 2020 to open, I decided to take a look at the Experience Hall. The Experience Hall includes Art Gallery, VR Theater, Emerging Technologies and Immersive Pavilion. It's an interesting exhibition, although, as I said before, it's not nearly the same as experiencing the pieces in real life.

The Art Gallery has a variety of interesting pieces. For example, there's one where you can interact with virtual animals in different ways.

Many times, pieces in the Art Gallery combine digital and handcrafted mediums, and that's the case of the piece seen below. What I found interesting is that the glass pieces are actually made blowing glass, while the other pieces are created using 3d printing. The author has come up with a method to combine both, and the method was very complicated since blown glass is worked at high temperatures.

Another piece is Dog Zone, an interactive dog that reacts to your location in front of the screen.

Other pieces include an interactive system about ocean levels and ecosystems that lets you affect the system by touching a vapor cloud, a structure made of pieces that presents an exploration of alternative pieces for construction, and an interactive skin that can sense stimulus and “learn” new stimulus.

While you can't watch the pieces of the Computer Animation Festival (you require a separate ticket for it), you can explore the pieces in the VR Theater. I don't have a VR set, because they are very expensive, and I am not really into VR, so I could only watch the trailers and read the descriptions.

The VR Theater offers VR short films, games, interactive walkthroughs and augmented-reality applications. For example, there's an application that lets you walk your AR dog and an interactive presentation for tourism.

Feather is another VR piece. It's an interactive short film where you are presented a little girl who wants to be a ballerina, and you can use the VR input to give her feathers, and, as she gets more feathers, she gets closer to her goal.

However, the most interesting piece I found was a VR horror game that uses a few extra systems to simulate heat, cold, among other things. That's an interesting idea, actually, because it could bring immersion to a whole new level (imagine you are in a snowy level, and having a system that simulates the cold weather for you).

Some of the VR pieces include links so you can experience them yourself (if you have a VR set), but some others obviously require special equipment so you can only imagine how they would work. In general, this is the unfortunate reality of a virtual exhibition of interactive pieces. You are missing the “interactive” part of the pieces, so the overall experience is not nearly the same. Hopefully, the on-site gallery will be available again next year for those that attend SIGGRAPH.

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