By Mike Festa, VRARA Boston Chapter President
BOSTON – Feb 7th: The Boston VRARA chapter kicked off with a launch event hosted at the Wayfair global headquarters. Despite a snowstorm, there were about 70 prospective members in attendance. Crazy Dough’s pizza was well received, and beer was flowing from the Wayfair taps.
Johnny Monsarrat fired up the crowd with his talk on AR gaming and building the successor to Pokémon Go. He built his first gaming company, Turbine, back when the internet was the new thing and now he wants to do it again utilizing the next platform, AR.
Shrenik Sadalgi, mixed reality apps team lead at Wayfair Next, explained why the largest online retailer of home goods wants to get in early on the action for AR and VR. These technologies are going to revolutionize the way that people shop from home and is going to increase the speed at which this segment shifts online, away from brick and mortar.
John Werner, a VP at Meta and organizer for AR in Action, showed how the first annual AR in Action conference was inspired by TED talks and created more than 70 videos. That event drew in more than 1,000 people and put Boston on the map as a capital of all things AR.
Mike Festa, chapter president, ran through the benefits of VRARA membership and spoke about how we are going to connect our well established local community in the VR/AR space to the rest of the world. In addition, he highlighted that Boston is a hub of cross functional technologies (biotech, education, architecture, defense, e-commerce) that will all be able to enhance their workflow through the adoption of VR and AR.
At the end of the night, there were several demos to try. Some of the devices include the Meta 2 headset, Google Tango in the Phab 2 Pro, the Occipital Bridge headset, the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, and a custom built 3D scanner for rapidly digitizing products. We hope that everyone had a great time and look forward to the next event: Boston VR meetup on February 22nd.
More photos here.