IMAGINE yourself as a Space Ninja getting back to Earth, or as an archer-defender perched in a tower, or a robotics engineer repairing a malfunctioning android. What about using real time information from the Diwata-1 satellite, or enjoying a virtual on-site tripping in your dream house?
Imagination becomes limitless with these sample immersive mobile virtual reality works from young and brilliant minds who converged in the recently concluded three-day 1st Philippine Virtual Reality (VR) Conference at the PLDT Innolab in Mandaluyong City making the event an inspiring success.
The VR Conference, organized by Virtual Reality Philippines (VR Philippines) and sponsored by PLDT, is the biggest gathering of Virtual Reality developers, including VR start-ups, independent developers, programmers, 3D animation specialists and enthusiasts in the country.
The event is aimed to develop the country’s local virtual reality content and to help define the promising future of this game-changing technology.
The VR Philippines, a non-profit community for the advancement of Virtual Reality technology, brought together over 70 attendees and divided into 11 teams comprised of university students and freelance or professional app developers.
The teams created some of the most promising VR developments during the 48-hour hackathon kick-off (Samsung’s Gear VR-Philippine Mobile VR Jam) through their own VR game or app—ranging from a horror game to an educational and science reference—for the Samsung Gear VR using room-scale tracking and natural input technology of HTC Vive and StreamVR platform.
Subsequently the participants exhibited their creations, shared their experiences and competed for the special awards and overall championship in the culminating event which was the VR Conference.
“PLDT has always supported startups, we believe in encouraging creative ideas and creative entrepreneurs. Innovation has always been one of the driving forces for everything we do,” said Joey Limjap, PLDT VP for Mainstream Business Development and Research.
“The virtual reality community in our country is now gaining ground, and PLDT is here to show its all-out support. To say that VR in the Philippines is a promising innovation is an understatement. It is here, and it is now, and we (PLDT) clearly see that the youth is definitely not wasted on these young VR developers and enthusiasts,” Limjap added.
Limjap reiterated that PLDT Innolab’s support is one way to nurture the collaboration with promising VR app and game developers in the country.
During the conference, informative talks were held on several related topics such as the VR industry profile, ways on how to make VR social, the community’s best practices, and the potential of VR for the corporate world, institutions, cultural preservation and the academe.
To illustrate the scientific yet fun-filled event, Ace Lobos, the leader of a group of young artists and developers called Team Supremo, appeared more like an excited party guest—fist bumping and cracking jokes—than a grim and determined technician while doing the finishing touches to his team’s entry, a VR game called “The Leaning Tower of Piza.’
“(We) aim to develop a game (that) would appeal to both gamers and developers, and to showcase our skills and creativity while learning and exploring the world of virtual reality,” Lobos said. Team Supremo’s work was awarded The Best Game in the competition.
Team VROS (Diwata VR) bagged the Overall Winner as it was awarded the Most Innovative Use of VR and Best Application titles. The team is composed of Paolo Espiritu, John Hay Supetran and Mark Joseph Basibas who are now richer with Php50,000 worth of Samsung gift certificates plus Samsung Gear VRs and trophies.
The team’s entry is the Virtual Reality Simulator for the Diwata-1 microsatellite, an app for students who wish to learn how to program the satellite by interfacing with an Arduino or Raspberry Pi over Bluetooth which, in turn, simulates accurate rotation movements and sensor measurements in space as well as a breathtaking view of the Earth.
Diwata-1 is also known as PHL-Microsat-1, a Philippine microsatellite launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on March 23, 2016 and was deployed into orbit from the ISS on April 27, 2016. It is the first Philippine microsatellite and the first satellite built and designed by Filipinos.
Espiritu, who was part of the group who helped build the microsatellite and spokesperson for Team VROS, said that “VR has a lot of potential for education, for learning, we can use it to teach physics, chemistry and other sciences. Not necessarily just for aerospace engineering,”
Team Arstar (Nayong Pilipino VR) went home with the Most Immersive Award and Best User Experience. Team members also received trophies and Samsung Gear VRs.
VR Philippines founder Christopher David commended PLDT for the partnership initiative with the VR community.
“We are thankful for everything that PLDT has provided us—from housing our event in Innolab to providing data connectivity (which) truly helped in making this event a success,” David said.
Other sponsors of the successful event are SMART, Neun Farben, Chibot Media, VEER, Altitude Games and Vobling.