There was a time when virtual reality was just fiction, a distant dream in the eyes of hopeful tech experts. But slowly the idea of Virtual Reality (VR) and immersive experiences are not only proving possible, but becoming the norm. Training programs for pilots are now achieved through VR, the gaming industry wouldn’t be half as booming were it not for virtual realms like World of Warcraft and we even have the indulgent choice to watch a film in 3D when we go to the cinema.
While there’s been progress, it still feels like there’s some resistance to VR as though our expectations still match the clunky, low-fi depictions of our 90s imaginations. But MINI’s latest venture aims to change our preconceptions by creating two short VR films that put users in the middle of the story.
Bringing storytelling to technology, MINI has used real actors, real sets and traditional film techniques to create two immersive films. These cinematic elements have never been used in VR before and MINI is keen to form a new, filmic genre of VR. With action-packed fight scenes in a fish market and a step into someone’s memory the films show how this technology can and should be used to create fully immersive entertainment.
Inspired by Google Cardboard, the little fold-out cardboard mount for your mobile phone to experience VR and VR apps, viewers can pop their smartphone into a MINI Cardboard viewer and get the full 360° experience. Fear not if you haven’t got a pair as MINI are giving away 140,000 cardboard viewers for free here.
This foray into VR is part of a wider backing into new and unexplored technologies for MINI and forms part of their drive towards innovation and connectivity. The MINI Connected app is another branch to their creative tree. Available to MINI owners, the app which has recently increased its driving-related functions can plot journeys before stepping into the car, monitor fuel consumption and can quickly search online for place and addresses. It’s like having personal road assistance in your cup holder.
Putting viewers in the technological driving seat as it were, MINI want their inventive solutions to be embraced and adopted by all and it’s exciting to see where these two VR films could take the car brand.
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