Illustration redesigned by Devin Thorpe
Over the last several years, the virtual reality industry has demonstrated remarkable staying power within the artificial intelligence (AI) space and shown significant worldwide growth. A recent Forbes article, 2019: The Year Virtual Reality Gets Real, revealed that 2019 has already proven a strong year for VR.
According to Forbes, the VR market is poised to hit over $98 million in sales by 2023. The current momentum and expert forecasts show that virtual reality will likely continue to become an increasing part of our actual reality for the foreseeable future.
The rampant acceleration within the virtual reality sect has prompted impressive technological innovations on a global scale. One of the biggest VR changes? The shift from first-generation, tethered headsets to standalone devices.
Put simply: wireless headsets have redefined the VR experience. They deliver a highly mobile, fully immersive user engagement, and seamlessly merge innovation and recreation in entirely new and compelling ways.
Quantum Changes in VR Technology Launches Vertical Trendsetter HyperspaceXR
HyperspaceXR, a retail entertainment company located in Seattle, WA, has emerged as a leading innovator within the rapidly evolving virtual reality segment. Launched in 2016 by CEO, Jeff Ludwyck, HyperspaceXR’s products layer cutting-edge VR technology with augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and even extended reality (XR) to deliver extremely mobile, fully physical, and highly sensory “walking adventures.”
Unlike other companies that provide singular-user experiences, HyperspaceXR allows groups of up to four participants to enjoy the same relatable content for unique and fully social storytelling. For Ludwyck, creating HyperspaceXR was a natural progression, given his extensive experience in retail entertainment design. “I started my career in physical retail stores, helping to develop VR stories that entertained and educated users without words,” Ludwyck said.
The CEO went on to discuss how his latest virtual reality venture has proven to be a dream come true for him. “I’m passionate about delivering the very best, most innovative experience and technological environments to our users. For years, I had an image of what that would look like. However, the programming and equipment just weren’t there yet. Finally, the technology caught up with my vision, and I knew we were ready to move forward with HyperspaceXR.”
A Close-Up Look At HyperspaceXR’s Multi-Person VR Adventures
The company first opened its doors with just three employees and its flagship product, Wonderfall, a 3,000-square foot maze configured with wood, speakers, heaters, doors, scents and a diverse range of story-specific props for a multi-person virtual reality experience that engrosses sight, sound, smell, and touch – sometimes simultaneously. With actual cobblestone beneath your feet, Wonderfall users and their companions are instantly transported to a charming Victorian-era village that’s full of both technological wonder and old school Hollywood set magic.
Initially, the HyperspaceXR team took Wonderfall on the road, moving from client site to client site, where the designed set could be displayed at various locations. However, the company’s business model changed in 2017 when the team moved into the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington.
Often referred to as the center’s “start-up in residence,” Hyperspace has launched a second immersive VR experience better suited for museum guests, entitled Expedition Titan, a story that allows participants to traverse the surface of Saturn’s largest moon in a broad spectrum of scenarios and situations. The experience is equal parts scientific research and the brilliant imagination of Ludwyck and his team of visionary creatives. Guests can embark on a space tour, walk the moon’s surface, explore Immersion Stations, travel inside a cryovolcano.
The Technology Behind Expedition Titan’s Full Sensory Experience
The Hyperspace team uses a diverse tech stack to launch Science Center guests into the stratosphere. Every Expedition Titan traveler wears a backpack with a built-in, wearable PC and virtual headset as part of their “space suit.” This space suit provides wireless story engagement, using virtual reality sensors to track each visitor’s movements throughout a mapped area.
The Hyperspace team was determined to craft a cohesive, high-performing final product. The crew collaborated, strategically piecing together different equipment and devices from various manufacturers to deliver optimal VR results.
When they discovered needs that couldn’t be addressed using outside gear and systems, the HyperspaceXR team built its own applications. Their hands-on approach to problem-solving ensures that clients receive customized solutions. This keeps their operations moving forward at the speed-of-light pace needed to command attention in the ever-changing software development sect.
The shift to wireless VR capabilities launched a multitude of other heavy immersion virtual reality companies. However, HyperspaceXR stands out as the only option that offers guests access to a full-scale theater where entire groups have plenty of room to move, explore, and learn. Some other differentiators for this trailblazing company include:
Most virtual reality organizations rely on stationary sensors placed throughout the set to track and monitor the experience. However, as part of Hyperspace’s innovative technology stack, the company strategically places sensors on players’ headsets. Also known as inside-out tracking, this practice monitors positional shifts, allowing for real-time spatial readjustments.
Super Realistic Experiences
The HyperspaceXR team remains wholly committed to developing and delivering a VR experience that mirrors reality as closely as possible. While no human has ever touched the surface of Titan (yet), Hyperspace compiled endless hours of research and data as well as interviewed countless subject matter experts to make every segment of the journey as realistic as possible.
Most virtual reality engagements can only support one player at a time for singular user engagement. Hyperspace’s technology stack eliminates social restrictions and allows up to four people to participate in the same story simultaneously. Each player can move through the various scenarios for a unique and interactive VR experience.
Hyperspace’s group participation component offers more than just social benefits. Many other VR companies struggle with low player throughput. Hyperspace’s set services four people every eight minutes. Adding more players to each Titan “launch” can generate four times more revenue than conventional virtual reality tools.
Many virtual reality companies focus primarily on amusement alone. However, as an onsite company inside the Science Center, HyperspaceXR innovates within a space Ludwyck refers to as “Edutainment.” Guests immerse themselves in technology and learn how the innovation works.
“Other players in our market don’t like to show people what’s behind the curtain with how they are leveraging different systems and platforms,” Ludwyck said. “The Expedition Saturn set is configured right inside the Science Center, giving our team an amazing opportunity to interact with every one of our users, all of whom have come to learn. The center’s guests were there from the beginning, watching as we developed and built effects. We use our time with each participant to give them a mind-blowing virtual reality adventure and to explain the science behind what’s happening. We love getting a chance to connect with our players, finding out what they want to learn, what they liked, and even what we can do to make their journey even better next time.”
Expedition Titan is currently the only adventure offered at the Science Center. Hyperspace is working to transition a smaller version of the original Wonderfall set to their space. The company plans to eventually expand its operations to include new user experiences.
HyperspaceXR: Pioneering New Territory and Technology for VR Enthusiasts
As a visionary in this medium, Ludwyck and his team must navigate the challenges that new, innovative companies would face. One of the team’s most significant obstacles is merely ensuring that consumers understand just what a HyperspaceXR engagement offers.
Ludwyck firmly maintains that the company stays in its lane without spending much time looking at the competition. However, the team recognizes that as a pioneer in the space, they must stand out in the market.
HyperspaceXR is currently testing online videos and building their social media presence to establish and maintain marketing momentum. Word of mouth also plays a vital role in helping Expedition Titan gain attention from a wider audience.
According to Ludwyck, “We’ve been blown away by the immensely positive reaction from all of our players. What Hyperspace offers is an entirely different medium; there’s no existing frame of reference to offer our guests. Fortunately, once people have a chance to participate in a set story and see for themselves exactly what we’re all about, they can’t wait to spread the word throughout their personal and social networks.”
HyperspaceXR is Already Looking Forward to Future Technological Advancements
Ludwyck and his growing team of developers, creatives, and contractors maintain that they are basking in their present successes. However, they are also looking to future advancements within the vertical. The company hopes to expand its presence into other markets and regions across the country. For Ludwyck growing HyperspaceXR means being able to expand the company’s tech stack and use humor, excitement, and immersion to delight consumers.
“From day one, our mission has always been to inspire ourselves and others through authentic joy. We truly love what we do and we believe that we have a massive opportunity to effect major change in a wide range of ways. I come to work every day excited to see how we can use technology to impact someone’s life. I’ve seen a 7-year old’s eyes completely light up during an experience. I’ve seen a 75-year-old married couple share an impromptu kiss in the middle of a story. I’ve even had people with disabilities tell me that our encounters allowed them to experience situations they never dreamed possible, like swimming in the ocean with sharks. That’s the ultimate reward for us. Yes, as a company, we want to grow and thrive and innovate in our vertical. However, we are also here simply to inspire joy.”