Virtual Reality (VR) is becoming more and more authentic while real impressions create real emotions. A 360 ° video, which offers all perspectives at the same time, can transport the viewer via tablet or VR headset to the Elbphilharmonie or Hamburg City Hall.

Challenge: Seeing the film crew destroys total immersion

In the context of the virtual experience experts speak of ‘Immersion’, referring to the total ‘immersion’ in a virtual environment. Thanks to advancing technology, a very high level of immersion can be achieved today and 360 ° VR movies create a completely new, immersive movie experience. The viewer is taken along on a journey and experiences what he sees very intensively. But with a 360 ° movie recording, naturally everything is in view and the film crew cannot simply hide behind the camera. There is no “behind the scenes”, just “in the scenes”.

Solution: Combination of virtual reality and drone technology

The Hamburg-based startup SpiceVR combines state-of-the-art drones with virtual reality technology. Together with Jonathan Hesselbarth they developed “Spherie”: a filming VR drone designed from scratch to enable seamless 360 ° VR shots without filming film crew or the drone itself. The 360 ° virtual reality camera system floats freely in the room and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor shots. It flies completely vibration-free due to its special design. Presently operated only manually, automatic operation is already under development. In the future, “Spherie” will be able to autonomously search for the optimal route and independently create a 3D model, which then receives a photo-realistic texture. Officially, Spherie is already self-sufficient. Since 2017, the drone is an independent spin-off company of SpiceVR.

With Spherie, Nicolas Chibac, VR pioneer and founder of SpiceVR, as well as drone engineer Jonathan Hesselbarth won the 2016 Webfuture Award of the nextMedia.Hamburg digital and media initiative. Both were also among the finalists in the prestigious 2016 SXSW Accelerator pitch competition at the international South by Southwest creative show (SXSW) in Austin, Texas.

Potential: Diverse applications way beyond 360 ° VR movie entertainment

SpiceVR CEO Nicolas Chibac considers “Spherie” a teleportation tool that allows users to beam to another location. On the one hand, “Spherie” can be used in film entertainment, in the real estate or tourism segment, in urban development or in marketing. On the other hand it is also useful in disaster relief. For example, “Spherie” could fly over the affected area after an earthquake.

Still in the test phase is “Environment Scanning”, a digital tool for creating 3D models with realistic textures, for example, from the Port of Hamburg. For this purpose, Nicolas Chibac and his team rely on an ‘old` technology: photogrammetry.

As of September 2019

VR – entering virtual realities
in Numbers

First drafts of Spherie were developed at the Republik fair
Patent registered
Patent issued
employees including founders
More than 30
360° VR movies

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