CyArk at South by Southwest

by Makenna Murray
March 25, 2016

Everyone wants Virtual Reality in their homes and in their lives. At least, that was the message at South by Southwest this month in Austin, Texas. The massive film, music and tech mega-conference is held every March and includes Film and Music performances as well as a week of Interactive attractions provided by the conference's many sponsors. 

CyArk was offered the chance to take part in SXSW through the Next Stage which draws inspiration from the creative industries and features presentations and performances that span the conference's three themes of Interactivity, Film and Music.

Alongside our partners at Seagate and the Ars Electronica Center, CyArk presented a fantastic panel on "Building the Galleries of the Future," in which we discussed the use of CyArk's 3D content in Ars Deep Space 8k platform. Participating in the Panel were CyArk's Vice President, Elizabeth Lee, Seagate SVP for Consumer Products, Tim Bucher and Ars Electronica Deep Space Manager, Andreas Bauer. 

To kick off the session, we showed a quick overview of the topic. You can watch the overview on CyArk's YouTube page

Conference goers from the Museum and Virtual Reality fields filled the room to learn more about the Ars Electronica Deep Space Platform, its unique capacity for rendering CyArk's 3D data in 8K and the unique benefits of experiencing this "Virtual Reality" communally rather than through individual headsets. 

The Ars Electronica experience is unique in this sense. Not only does one experience CyArk's heritage data as part of a group (much as one would visiting a site in person), but one can also experience the sensation of "stepping into" the scene very differently. 

Whereas a headset creates an immersive experience by cutting off the viewer from that which is taking place in real time around them, Deep Space bridges the two while not verging into the realm of Augmented Reality. The seamless 60x9 meter screens that form the walls and floor of Deep Space overwhelm the viewers frame of vision in a similar manner to a headset, yet as a result of the format, one remains aware of the room which contains the experience. The result is that sites are rendered in real time at human scale, and because the resolution of Deep Space is an amazing 8k (that's four times the total number of pixels in a 4k display or a shocking 16 times full HD), a viewer can approach the screen and distinguish each unique point within one of our data sets, each of which represents a moment in time and space that will never be repeated, but which can be replayed. In essence, one is stepping into the site, in the moment it was scanned. 

It was a fantastic experience to attend SXSW this year. While there was no official theme for the Interactive portion of the conference--it may as well have been Virtual Reality. While some of these products are years away from CyArk incorporating them into our process, it was a real treat to get my hands on the first generation gear and demos and to get a feel for the direction of the industry. 

A video recording of the Panel will be made available via CyArk's YouTube page.