Sony was demoing the tech at its “Wow Factory” exhibition at SXSW this week alongside a load of other wacky and weird tech from its research labs. But the projection dome thing (it’s so experimental Sony apparently doesn’t yet have an actual name for it yet) was by far my favorite of all the demos.
The dome uses two 4k projectors. The two projections are “blended,” according to the Sony rep I talked to, so you can’t discern where one starts and the other begins. In any case, if there was any noticeable point where the two projections overlapped, I couldn’t see it.
But the most impressive part is how you “steer” the 360-video: by swiveling around in the chair. The accompanying chair is equipped with motion sensors so that as you turn the video shifts to correspond to your movements.
While maybe not as immersive as viewing 360-videos in a VR headset, there’s something undeniably cool about watching a huge 4k projection that responds to your movements. It also eliminates the issue of motion sickness which is a huge problem for some (myself included) when using a VR headset.
The dome’s utility isn’t limited to 360-degree videos either. Aside from the videos, the company showed off a “cyber gym” concept where the dome was paired to a stationary bicycle. Like the chair, the bike was equipped with motion sensors. As you pedaled, you would lean in different directions to try and “steer” toward onscreen targets.
They also had the dome set up to act as music visualizer which was the least impressive of its uses but still more rad than most music visualizers.
Of course, none of this is in any way practical (and the whole setup is probably expensive) but this only a concept, after all, so it may never make it out of Sony’s research labs anyway. A girl can dream though, right?