Sensory VR: Crafting a Culinary Experience
Of recent months, we’ve seen some wild, wacky and downright wonderful uses of VR. Expanding beyond the realm of the simple screen, it’s now reaching new heights of immersion – leaving hungry audiences wanting more. VR is all about the experience and with 5D features making it even more real than ever, we stand to learn a lot from sensory VR.
We’ve seen HBO send viewers up and over The Wall for ‘Game of Thrones’, complete with icy blasts on their backs and rattling lift. Diesel even jumped into the 5D game with it’s simulated furry sleigh ride, taking viewers on a weird and wonderful ride through its animated catwalk world. And now, 5D VR has turned its ever watchful eye to the world of food.
“5D VR has turned its ever watchful eye to the world of food.”
Uber food scientist and catering experience experimenter, Heston Blumenthal, recently backed VR for its potential to lift social occasions and combine the virtual world, with the tactile types of dinners we share. Imagine offering dining experiences outside the room you’re eating in, or giving your senses a culinary overload as you enjoy the latest offering from one of your favourite food brands.
When it comes to crafting the ultimate culinary experience, Samsung Gear VR is leading the virtual charge. Whether you want to dine at the tip top of a ferris wheel, in a fragrant Tuscan garden under the virtually scorching sun or underwater whilst dolphins circle your plate, with VR advancing at an ever rapid rate, it’s not so far off from becoming an almost reality.
“An overload of sights, sounds and scenes”
Sublimotion, hosted by award winning chef Paco Roncero, is a dining experience like no other. Set away from the thumping Ibiza strip, it’s one of the first of its kind to offer eager consumers the chance to experience dinner but not as they know it. An overload of sights, sounds and scenes – it’s shows how one simple screen can transport you from a blank white room to a place in the sun, or under the sea.
Integrating 360 and VR tech into your restaurant is one sure fire way to stand out from the culinary crowd. Bringing an immersive and sensory experience to the table, through something as simple as a Samsung Gear VR (albeit with the help of a few master chefs), is a new place for VR to go. We’ve had 5D rides and thrill seeking car experiences; now it could be time for a tastier type of reality.
The Gastronomical Future
Switching from submerged Sublimotion, to the more far off realms off 5D VR future, ‘Project Nourished’ takes sensory experience to all new levels of immersion. The aim of the LA start up, to bring people foods they could only dream of, in places they’d never thought they could go, is an interesting and future pushing concept. Utilising almost every sensory VR tool known to even the most edgy developers, they craft purely sensory dining experiences. That is, food without the calories…or food.
“Has VR finally gone too far?”
Breaking it down, the experience consists of several key 5D elements; an aromatic diffuser pulsing smells of various foods into the air, a geometric looking VR headset, a terrifying sounding ‘Bone conduction transducer’ that mimics chewing sounds and transits them into your head (definitely terrifying) and a couple of virtual utensils which help you scoff your 3D printed and pretty invisible food.
So what’s the point? Has VR finally gone too far? Interestingly, the answer’s probably no. Audience are looking for new ways to experience – whether that’s through taste, touch, smell or virtual sight. A sensory experience is one which evokes memories and challenges us to see the world in a new way. Whilst it’s probably not quite what Heston had in mind, it could serve up a handy helping of how to utilise the senses with VR and a sign of where virtual experiences could be heading. Pass us the virtual cocktail glass.
Finally, you can’t craft a culinary VR experience without an equally virtual kitchen. Swedish furniture giants, IKEA, are no strangers to the world of emerging tech. We recently wrote about their foray into world of AR furniture and now, they’ve dipped their whole foot, not just their toes, into the world of VR.
“Stress test your dream cooking station from the comfort of your own home”
Focusing more on the aesthetics of the culinary experience, rather than senses – IKEA’s VR kitchen experience lets you stress test your dream cooking station from the comfort of your own home. Powered by HTC Vive, as you wander round the kitchen, you can view the scene from different perspectives, change the colour of the cabinets in front of your very eyes and even practice recycling your food waste in your gleaming new cupboard bin.
Not only that, but if you’re a fan of the signature Swedish meatballs, you can whip up a batch using the VR controllers and serve them to your virtual family. IKEA’s experience is the last piece of the culinary puzzle, showcasing how beneficial VR could be in not only letting consumers test their future purchases but actually witness how it feels to wander round the space you’re about to very permanently install. Imagine coupling this with the kind of sensory technology being already utilised in restaurants and you could be enjoying the smell of IKEA cooking wafting from your bedroom in no time.
While the world of food VR is, at the moment, still finding its feet, it’s a great example of how diverse VR is as a platform for experiences. We want to be whisked off our feet by an engaging virtual experience, or immersed in something which makes us feel something beyond the screen. If these early examples are anything to go by, we could well be in for a virtual treat in the next few years.
To help you craft your own sensory and immersive VR experience, we’ve pulled together some of our top tips to help. And, if you want to chat over a virtual cake, drop us a line and we’d be happy to answer your VR questions.
- Craft something memorable – No matter how many virtual bells and whistles you add into your experience, if it’s not memorable or relatable, your audience won’t remember it. Think about how you can make it as interactive as possible.
- Consider the headset – Depending on who you’re trying to reach, the headset you create your experience on is vital. If you want to create a sensory experience within a permanent space with beautiful graphics, a wired headset is best. Whereas if the 5D VR is ready for the road, turn to a Samsung Gear or HTC Vive.
- Make it meaningful – Don’t just add extra features for the sake of it – think about what reason you have behind crafting each part of the experience. Will a sensory aid or 5D element benefit your audience?