karl-almost-smile-269x200Today is the five-year anniversary for Silicon Valley Virtual Reality meetup, and founder Karl Krantz is announcing a couple of new initiatives as SVVR reorganizes itself as a public-benefit corporation. They’re going to be formally announcing their MULTIVERSE initiative that is going to be bringing Reality Portals to VR events, which will allow people virtually attend VR events put on by SVVR and others through social VR experiences like High Fidelity. They’ve created a screen that can be placed at VR events that provides a low-latency window into a VR world (and vice versa), allowing for serendipitous interactions between co-located events and the virtual attendees.

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As part of their larger Multiverse initiative, SVVR wants to be able to merge VR worlds together so that virtual avatars could be mirrored and projected into multiple VR worlds at once. So a person could use the High Fidelity interface, but have their avatar and voice interactions cloned and mirrored within a WebVR world.

Krantz showed me a working prototype of this feature, and it’s super impressive that this is even possible. So they’re not only working towards making it possible to be in multiple virtual worlds at the same time, but in a way that these fused virtual worlds will have an interface to IRL, co-located VR events including SVVR meetups, the Maker Faire, and Augmented World Expo.

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I had a chance to catch up with Krantz to talk about SVVR’s five-year anniversary, their Reality Portal & Metaverse Initiatives, as well as their new SVVR Studios and how they’re planning on to sustaining themselves as a mission-driven, public-benefit corporation.

The other initiative that Krantz is announcing is the ability for start-ups to become Passport members of SVVR Studios, which is the new co-working office space that provides access to demo rooms and meeting spaces for start-ups to have a home base to have meetings and gatherings within the heart of Silicon Valley. Passport members will gain certain benefits at SVVR Studios, but they’ll also provide the foundation to help to support all of the other various SVVR community initiatives, educational programs, networking opportunities, and teleconferencing technologies that SVVR is developing. SVVR is also considering starting a Patreon to have other ways that community members can support all of their various initiatives.

SVVR has been at the heart of the consumer VR renaissance, and they’re in a transitional period of trying to find new models to sustain all of their community efforts. They are doubling-down on supporting the VR community, and helping to drive open standards for decentralized social VR interoperability that are important for users, but that are not at the top of the priority list for walled garden VR applications.

SVVR has always had people wanting to attending their events using the technologies that they’re promoting, and they’re starting to take the steps required in order to start to merge the virtual and physical realities starting with their Reality Portal. There is a lot of amazing potential for what’s possible and where this could go in terms blending social AR and VR technologies with co-located events. SVVR hopes to be on the bleeding edge of experimenting with how to blend and balance virtual embodiment and participation with co-located events.

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  • Lucio Pascarelli

    Not a new idea. Did something similar for the first time in 1999 at VRML 99 in Paderborn, and most recently using HighFidelity at MIPTV in Cannes in April.