Location-based startup Dreamscape Immersive debuted its multisensory VR experience “Alien Zoo” on Feb. 7. The experience is open to the public at Westfield Century City in Los Angeles through March 2.
Up to six people can visit Dreamscape Immersive’s intergalactic exhibit during one 40 minute time slot. The experience itself takes just 12 minutes, but participants need time to gear up with a VR headset, a backpack, shoe coverings, and sensor-equipped gloves.
Each person has a full-body avatar in the “Alien Zoo” environment. To make this possible, Dreamscape Immersive partnered with Artanim, a Swiss research institute developing motion capture technology, which created a body-mapping software that tracks a person’s head, hands, and feet, using this information to compute how the rest of the body is positioned.
Once set-up, participants are transported through the virtual environment where they can observe and interact with fictional creatures like the enormous Megaraffes, the oddly adorable Frogcats, and the villainous Sicari.
The company describes its virtual world as one where people “can touch, feel, and smell [their] surroundings”. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Dreamscape Immersive co-chairman Walter Parkes said, “There are all sorts of very small details of sound design, of scent, of atmosphere. … They all accrue to the sense of an experience that is pretty real.”
With investors like IMAX, Nickelodeon, and Steven Spielberg, Dreamscape Immersive is largely focused on improving storytelling, and “Alien Zoo” provides a glimpse into the company’s capabilities. The company isn’t slowing down either, as future projects are planned to be “connected to major franchises,” according to Parkes.