Advances in virtual reality will "blur the line between what's virtual and what's real"

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: in our first movie looking at the interface between design and technology, Andy Millns of 3D production company Inition claims virtual reality will soon become almost indistinguishable from the real world. 

Andy Millns of Inition portrait
Andy Millns of Inition. Copyright: Dezeen

Based in Shoreditch, east London, Inition specialises in using new technologies such as virtual reality to create a range of experiences and installations.

"Virtual reality was the technology that set me off on this career path in the first place," says Millns. "I was absolutely obsessed with virtual reality in the early nineties; now it's very exciting that the hardware has finally got to the point where the experience matches people's expectations."

Oculus Rift virtual reality headset

The studio has been working with the developer version of Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset that was announced on crowd-funding website Kickstarter in 2012. The consumer version is currently in development and expected to launch this year.

"Oculus Rift has been sort of the poster child for virtual reality," says Millns, before going on to explain how straightforward the device is. "What you've got essentially is a seven-inch mobile phone-type screen and two lenses. It's that simple."

Oculus Rift virtual reality headset

The developer version of Oculus Rift has a very low-resolution screen, but with the pixel density of mobile phone screens rapidly increasing, Millns says it won't be long before virtual reality becomes as life-like as the real world.

"We're going to see this year a headset where it's starting to get quite difficult to distinguish whether you're actually wearing a headset or not," he says. "When we start to get super-high-resolution headsets with the type of display technology that we're seeing on the market now, it's going to blur the line between what is reality and what is virtual."

Monolith by Gareth Pugh and Inition at Selfridges

Its most recent project using the Oculus Rift device was a collaboration with the fashion designer Gareth Pugh called Monolith, which was installed last month at Selfridges for the London department store's Festival of Imagination.

Monolith by Gareth Pugh and Inition at Selfridges

Visitors entered a soundproofed booth and put on a special helmet, which transported them on a virtual reality journey through monochromatic cityscapes populated by ghostly figures based on the sculptural costumes Pugh created for the Royal Ballet.

"You walk into the store, put the headset on and you're immersed in a three-minute experience inside the world of Gareth Pugh," Millns explains.

Monolith by Gareth Pugh and Inition at Selfridges

The music featured in the movie is a track by Floyd Lavine. You can listen to Lavine's music on Dezeen Music Project.

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers