Immersive Tech Week Takeaways & Exploring Rotterdam
A few thoughts and impressions from the Immersive Tech Week in Rotterdam.
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Immersive Tech Week Rotterdam
Last week I was at the "Immersive Tech Week" in Rotterdam. Unfortunately, I caught a virus infection during the conference and was temporarily unable to attend, but I'd still like to share some of the impressions and insights I gained during my well days with you.
Since October 2022, Meta has had its own "Education Director", Matthew Sanders, who is responsible for promoting the topic of education through VR. Matthew gave a talk and showed examples of VR education. In some areas this makes perfect sense, e.g. if someone needs to learn how to dock a huge cargo ship in a harbour, then it is easier to simulate this in VR than to practise it in real life. In other areas, I'm curious to see how quickly VR will become popular in the education sector. We already use various VR applications here at the University of Applied Sciences, for example in the medical field to give students a better learning experience. But overall, the education sector is often rather resistant to new technologies. Matthew had a slide in regard to this with the stages of an ed tech hype (see below).
A scientific conference, the 20th EuroXR International Conference, was also held as part of Immersive Tech Week. I was there for the opening sessions (unfortunately I couldn't take part in the rest due to illness). One session reminded me what a complex tool our hand is and what we actually do or can do with it every day: Recognising textures, applying pressure / recognising the hardness of a material, measuring temperature, measuring weight, recognising shape/volume, feeling contours, etc. It is obvious how challenging it is to transfer all these functions into VR.
In addition to the conference presentations, the "Immersive Tech Week" also includes a trade fair and a number of experiences. I particularly enjoyed the "Church of VR". Here you could enjoy various VR experiences. One of the experiences that could be explored at the Church of VR, "The Sushi Master", can also be accessed publicly via the Meta Quest. So if you have VR glasses, check it out. It's impressive and a different kind of experience to enjoy content via VR.
At the evening event of the conference, an artist played live music in Decentraland. In other words, people from all over the world could watch the live performance via Decentraland and we on site could watch the artist performing music in his virtual space. It was really fun to watch. I recorded a video for you so you can see it too.
Rotterdam is definitely worth a visit. It is a very nice city, well connected to Schiphol Airport (only 30 mins by train), and not as crowded as Amsterdam, so if you're looking for a new travel destination... and The Hague is also right next door.
The city was beautifully decorated for Christmas. It certainly fuelled my Xmas spirit. There was also a bit of an Xmas mood at the conference. Ninantic / 8th Wall had a booth at Immersive Tech Week and brought along some WebAR demos, such as this one you can try on your smartphone: Ask Santa Anything.
That's it for this week. Short and sweet. If you know someone who might be interested in this newsletter, I would be delighted if you would pass it on.
Disclaimer: The thoughts published in this publication are my personal opinion and should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation for any type of action. I am not a financial expert. The startups or corporates highlighted in the newsletter have caught my interest. This mention is not an endorsement or recommendation to engage with them. Readers should always do their own research.