VR seat company Positron teamed up with Universal at SXSW this year to showcase a "Zero Gravity VR Experience" tied in with the studio's The Mummy reboot.
While it fell (way) short of simulating weightlessness, it was nonetheless a nice way to watch virtual reality. If only the stuff I was watching wasn't quite so shallow.
Like the movie it's based on, Universal's setup at SXSW is flashy and expensive. You walk into a nondescript ballroom at a convention center, and are greeted by a section of an aircraft's fuselage, together with a life-sized "Egyptian" sarcophagus from the movie. Behind a blackout curtain lay 20 or so VR seats, arranged as you'd expect seating in a high-class movie theater. These seats -- Positron Voyagers -- are the real stars of the show.
Positron debuted the Voyager at Sundance earlier this year, and has since been touting the seat at various VR and film shows. Resembling an Arne Jacobsen egg chair, but with none of the charm and subtlety, the Voyager contains motors to control pitch and yaw to simulate motion, a built-in Subpac for vibrations, as well as a standard Oculus Rift headset and some noise-canceling headphones.
The actual VR experience was of the shallow PR-grab variety: a 10-minute featurette narrated by Tom Cruise, showing how the movie's zero-gravity action sequence (which was pretty much 90 percent of the trailer) was filmed.