Using 8i’s technology and VR goggles, you’ll be able to walk around a person inside a virtual environment to see their entire being. The Wellington, New Zealand-based startup said its VR platform will allow you to view fully volumetric 3D video.
Previously, VR cameras could record a partial torso of a person, but the 8i Portal goes beyond that. It enables “complete freedom of movement,” and it gives you a sense of “presence,” or the feeling that you are there in the virtual space with the person. It creates a more “emotional connection with the person you are watching,” the company said in the video below.
8i’s platform will let you create, experience, and share immersive 3D video of real people — for virtual reality, augmented reality, and the web. I’m not sure how it can be used for games, but you can see how it could give you a unique perspective at a music concert or theatrical performance.
Linc Gasking, who previously ran countingdown.com (which DreamWorks acquired), and Eugene d’Eon, formerly of Weta Digital and Nvidia, founded the startup in 2014.
To date, 8i has raised $14.8 million in funding from investors including RRE Ventures, Founders Fund Science, Horizons Ventures, Samsung Ventures, Dolby Family Ventures, Signia Venture Partners, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Sound Ventures, Inevitable Ventures, Freelands, and Advancit Capital.
The new 8i Portal is a volumetric VR player for Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive VR platforms. If you use the Oculus Rift or Vive headsets, you can view cool VR videos of people who look real, not computer-generated, and move around them, make eye contact, and feel “true presence,” the company said.