In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley wrote “…reality, however utopian, is something from which people feel the need of taking pretty frequent holidays….”
These days, taking a well-earned break from reality needn’t be done through hallucinogens and other mind-altering substances. Technology has the ability to transport us to different worlds and make our existing environment just that little bit more interesting. Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Realities are changing how we see the world around us while beckoning us on into unknown realms. Fortunately, this doesn’t come with all that annoying faux mysticism and pseudo spirituality that seemed to permeate through the 60’s counter culture. Instead, we have genuinely interesting people with game-changing ideas and not a kaftan in sight.
These pioneering spirits and voyagers of tomorrow won’t be found on some tedious BBC documentary harping on about how much better the 60s was, they’ll be too busy creating more worlds for us to explore. Plus, you know, drugs are bad okay?
Aldous Huxley also once said “Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.” I for one, beg to differ.
Another person who would disagree with Mr Huxley is Jack Maddalena, Sales and Community Manager, VRCraftworks.
Jack came to Bubbl HQ to discuss some potential collaborative opportunities and gave us not only a wonderfully detailed presentation of the work they do but also a father and son tale that would have brought a tear to my eye had I not been so rigorously conditioned by a 90s Yorkshire upbringing to display absolutely zero emotion, except for when football is on.
1. What is VRCraftworks and what do you do?
VRCraftworks is an Immersive agency. We believe immersive tech should be made to add value to your audience, product service — best known for making one of the “Top Ten” VR apps.
We make bespoke VR, AR, MR and 360 content for organisations. Training, marketing, PR, data vis and informative experiences. We also run workshops to help people to understand this technology and how it can be used in their organisation. We also consult on how to move forward or what type of project the organisation should move forward with.
2. How did VRCraftworks come about?
How VRCraftworks came about was, Peter, my father and I were experimenting with immersive technology for years before it became a talking point in mainstream media. Our interest began when we became a part of a small online community with the likes of “parmtech” (Palmer Luckey – Founder of Oculus) and other leading figures in the field. The online community along with myself and Peter initially wanted to buy the first VR headset from “parmtech” until a Kickstarter created Oculus, now one of the top-selling providers of VR headsets. From the development of hardware, we decided to create VRCraftworks and haven’t looked back since.
The first application we created, is called Orbulus, became at. Orbulus was published as one of the ‘Top Ten’ VR apps to download. As the interest grew, with the likes of Google wanting to include our app in the launch of the Google Cardboard headset. Since then our company has grown and so have the projects. With Peter’s skills in running businesses and my marketing and sales, plus the passion of immersive technology, our company we believe blossomed.
3. What is the best/worst thing about working with your father?
The best thing about working with my father is that I get to see him every day which some people are not as fortunate to be able to do. Furthermore, this means we are able to be very productive with our time and workload. Also working together means that communication is a lot easier, this has benefited us tenfold we would like to believe. I think that it is down to the fact we do not have to worry about being completely professional with each other. However, I also think that this can have a detrimental effect as it can easily start arguments which happens to be the worst part of working together. This is never intentional or out of spite, it mainly down to the fact that we are both very passionate about what we do therefore if we have conflicting ideas we can butt heads. This is easily resolved as over the last six years of working together we have learnt how each other work and we can easily compromise.
4. Where do you see these technologies going in the next few years?
In the coming years, I believe that AR will be introduced everybody’s day to day life whether this will be for commercial or domestic use. It will also become a lot more accessible and more affordable to the everyday person. Moreover, I believe it will also play a massive role in education as more and more companies and education systems are introducing AR into their teaching/learning methods.
VR will be used as a business SAS tool, this will make companies more efficient as data visualisation will become clearer, the time in which it takes to train new employees will decrease so you can have more work-ready employees in less time. This, in turn, will make training more cost-effective.
5. Who inspires you professionally?
Elon Musk is my main work inspiration, I admire the way in which he uses first principles to make such innovative products to attempt and hopefully overcome real-world issues.
6. Finally, you guys live and work in Brighton – are the seagulls quietly taking over?
Yes. Yes, they are. We need all the help we can get. No one, I repeat no one can safely eat fish and chips on the beach. Nor outside anywhere for that matter. You’ll be surrounded, and swarmed by them. Just the other day I was driving into town and a seagull stood in the middle of the road and try to play a game of chicken with me. And guess who won? Correct, not me. The seagull, stood there stared me down and refused to move from the middle of the lane causing me to swerve last minute into the lane beside me. Send help!