Virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR) technologies are among this year’s biggest industry trends, with technologies finding new ways to enhance our perception and experience of the world around us. This year at the 2016 South by Southwest Conference (SXSW), we can expect to see the most creative minds and innovative companies showcase the future of VR/AR and how the world will function for years to come. (One or two attendees might even find themselves in a new job).
If you plan to attend SXSW this year, here are five of the top VR/AR programs to help you build your schedule:
- The SXSW VR/AR Track
The most prominent VR/AR event at this year’s festival will be the newly added VR/AR Track. SXSW has developed a three-day collection of panels that coincides with the SXSW Gaming expo to emphasize the strong connection between the two verticals. Most exciting about this new festival feature is that it will be a part of the Convergence lineup, which means all badgeholders will have access to the March 16-18 events.
- The Samsung* Studio
Samsung returns to SXSW Interactive festival with its popular Samsung Studio, offering fans a hands-on experience of its newest VR technology, the Gear VR and Gear 360 powered by Oculus. The Samsung Studio will host a wide range of daily programing including panels and events, and fans will have the opportunity to demo Samsung’s 4D VR chairs that offer motion simulation to create an immersive sensory experience.
- NASA’s Mission to Mars
This year, NASA seeks to take SXSW attendees out of this world with its VR brand experience. Partnering with FUSION, a multi-platform media company owned by Disney-ABC Television Group and Univision, NASA will be producing a virtual reality experience that aims to simulate life on Mars and explores where we are today at achieving mankind’s next frontier.
- First-Ever VR Feature Film
The first feature film to be shot entirely with 360-degree virtual reality cameras will be debuting at this year’s SXSW festival. Directed by first time filmmaker, Alex Oshmyansky, Career Opportunities in Organized Crime is a mockumentary-style film that follows the filming of a recruitment video for the Russian mafia. Those attending SXSW can book a viewing through www.mafiacareers.com, where they’ll find further information and behind-the-scenes footage.
- AR/VR Austin 2016 Event
For the second year, the AR/VR Austin welcomes SXSW attendees to experience live demos from a host of VR/AR companies. The unofficial SXSW event was originally organized by small VR companies to establish a low-cost presence for lesser-known VR/AR product innovations. This year, the event takes place on March 13 outside of the downtown Austin area where most of SXSW will take place.
Image by Paul Hudson.