Meet The Transporter
Today Marriott unveiled what they see as a possible future for travel. Working with Framestore, a company well known in the virtual reality space, Marriott created the Teleporter. Wired has a great in depth article talking about the technology which combines high quality imagery with physical sensations to immerse users in a virtual world.
While the Teleporter uses existing technology that Framestore has developed, Marriott’s 90 second virtual reality travel experience took three months to complete and was custom designed from the ground up. In addition to virtually walking through a Marriott lobby, the Teleporter takes “passengers” on a 100 second trip to a black sandy beach in Hawaii and atop a platform on London’s Tower 42 scyscraper.
It Isn’t Quite “Real” Yet
According to Wired, the Teleporter experience is far from mature. Creating an interactive 360 degree world is still proving to be a problem since even a small distortion can ruin the effect. At this point “users” travel on a linear path through the world, however the environment is rendered in a whopping 8K, meaning it is far more advanced than those arcade style VR experiences of yesterday.
I honestly don’t see the benefit of this in its current form. Sure virtual reality is a nice gimmick, but until we can interact with the environment in a realistic way, I see it as mostly a toy. Perhaps people who don’t like to actually travel will enjoy it, but I would rather actually experience a place in person. Nothing can replace the sights and smells that make up the experience of actually being there.
Marriott has clearly developed this technology in their continuing effort to reach Millennials, however I am not sure if it will help them succeed. While the amount of money spent by Marriott to develop the Transporter was not disclosed, no doubt it was somewhat costly. I am interested to see how they will calculate their return on investment.
What do you think? Are these virtual environments the future of travel or just a gimmick? Let me know in the comments and head on over to Wired for a lot more information on the technology along with a preview video of Marriott’s “experience”.