VAR Showcase, in the beginning… (More pics and videos to come)

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VAR Showcase, in the beginning… (More pics and videos to come)

On July 11, 2015, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

VAR Showcase 07.15 has come and gone, but the fantastic turnout at the largest Virtual Reality showcase in Toronto and the GTA. VAR (Virtual and Augmented Reality) Showcase was organized by myself – Joseph Ellsworth of VBAReality, David Zhang of Vangard, and Keram Malicki-Sanchez of VRTO. It would not have been possible without our great sponsors the Ryerson Digital Media Experience (DME) lab, Launch Zone, and the Ryerson Student Learning Centre.

For myself I believe Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality is inevitable. The key to how quickly we adopt and grow the technology will be the connections and discussions amongst developers, and the public. In addition, as awareness increases, even more great talent will arise and join the efforts. I believe it is important for Canadian talent to have these events here in Toronto and across Canada. By having these events locally the challenge of travelling to these events is significantly reduced allowing massive increases in the exposure, adoption, development, and growth within Canada. VBAReality is the name I use to define my efforts to promote the growth, awareness, and connections made in this community. VBAReality started with the idea of sharing the virtual reality experience with the general public.  We put on a few demos at, the major ones we have listed in VBARealities project section, and now have included this amazing partnership, the VAR Showcase.

Having 165 attendees at the very first VAR Showcase in Toronto is a great expression of the demand for these shows. We know with the success of this show it is very much a beginning, bringing together great exhibitors and an audience hungry for what they are seeing. This provides the exhibitors great exposure, essential feedback including what was great about their products and what will make it even better.  Sometimes all new ideas of what the audience wants to see in the future will be discovered.

For the attendees, they had great things to say about the show. Most were excited by the variety of the demos while some were focused on a few specific ones. Starting with the Interactive Room, Multiplayer is definitely possible as was shown by several of the demos present.

Multiplayer examples that the audience got to enjoy included:

AltspaceVR – Brian Peiris demoing this amazing Social Reality platform where people can enjoy games, chat, and even share videos on public screens in the environments. There is even a movie theatre inside.

Neon Mountain Games – Seek-A-Boo, had one player as the seeker wearing an Oculus Rift and the rest of the players using Xbox controllers running away and hiding for a total of up to 10 players.

Some feedback I heard throughout the show was how natural the interaction with many of the demo experiences were, these included:

Game Pill – Get in the Ring game, demoed by Patrick, where the players got to swing their fists experiencing boxing with natural motions using two small Bluetooth Nod rings, one slipped on a finger of each hand.

BreqLabs – A Sensor Glove shown by Martin Labrecque where people got to see natural hand motions performing a variety of tasks, including receiving force feedback through the gloves, and best of all completely wireless.

Augmented Reality has many potentials but one of the most multipurpose methods is symbols on objects anchoring an augmented reality experience to it. Brian Prokopowich was on site, showing the audience how ARVUU did this with what appears to be natural pictures and logos using just a smartphone to bring objects to life.

Last, but not least, in the Interactive room we had people having a great blast, literally, as they threw fireballs which they created and flung using only their hands. Stephan Tanguay, the developer of Fists of Fire, had a steady line up on his ultra-compact Mini ITX desktop w/ a single cable display port monitor. Fists of fire was a great example of the Oculus Rift being used with the Leap Motion, while his system demonstrates a VR desktop rig, can be compact.

In the Realization room DJ Shine, was laying down some smooth tracks while Keram, with his company Transportive Technology was demoing a 360 degree video of the new product.

In the Experience room there was a lot of great things to see. Upon first entry, Brendon from Bubl, was presenting the Bublcam. Bublcam is a spherical camera designed to have zero blind spots. A very interesting fact is Bublcam is looking at a future prosumer version of it with a higher resolution model if all goes according to plan.

Kwame of MIXITMEDIA, a Transmedia Zone company was doing a joint demo with DEEP Inc. showing Polar Sea 360 to members of the audience. The Samsung Gear VR really shines with a higher than 1080p resolution, allowing the best possible 360 degree video experiences without any trailing wires. Polar Sea 360 takes the audience on an epic journey up the northwestern passage, finishing off on the shore line with the Aurora Borealis shining in time lapse high overhead.

Scott Herman the Chief Technical Officer for DEEP Inc. was on site with promotional material, with Thomas Wallner the founder and owner of DEEP Inc. also making an appearance. Having experienced both Polar Sea 360, and Songs of Freedom with Measha Brueggergosman at the HotDocs DocX VR Showcase I believe DEEP Inc. will continue to be a major player in Virtual Reality experiences.

Kyle from HootVR was showing off his laser cut DIY holder to turn your smartphone into a Virtual Reality device.  HootVR even has their own self created experience of a short tour / clip in space.

Elli & Alexander were once again disrupting the concepts of the nature of Virtual Reality film in a very powerful way. Showing their film I Am You which begins with a great Cinema scene showing their movie up on the big screen. As the movie progresses however a transition occurs leaving you to look through the eyes of the actor feeling a deep connection and a physical embodiment inside them.

Josh and his team from discovr were demoing DISCOVR ROME still listed on the discovr website as coming this summer, attendees got a sneak peek at this incredibly immersive educational experience. We already know the power of immersion through programs like French immersion, well VR is giving the discovr team the power to take immersion to all new heights with the whole world and all of time as their playground.

As an Organizer of the event I would like to take the time to thank all the teams and members of the Ryerson SLC, DME, and Launch Zone, all of the Exhibitors, as well as all the volunteers that came together to help us make VAR (07.15) the largest and most successful Virtual and Augmented Reality Showcase that Toronto has ever seen.




The Names and Descriptions of all the demos by room name from our original details release are as follows:

Interactive Room

Neon Mountain Games – Seek-A-Boo

Seek-A-Boo is an amazing example of multiplayer gaming involving an Oculus Rift. Players take turns “Being It” using an Oculus Rift as a first person view to hunt down up to 9 other players. The other players have the ability to run away and hide as the player, who is it, tries to catch up to them.

Game Pill – GET IN THE RING (Boxing)

Oculus and Nod gesture rings allow you to punch with precision and accuracy, do you have what it takes to get in the ring?

ARVUU – Augmented Reality Branding and Experiences

Offers a full suite of Creative Services, Augmented Reality Products & Solutions. We focus our business around promoting this technology and providing new ways to augment our life and help you connect with your customers!

BreqLabs – Sensor Gloves

Virtual reality is the next big “land of opportunity” for software and game developers. It allows you to be teleported into a remote world with a headset. Because your keyboard and mouse are not teleported with you, today virtual reality is a partial solution: people see but cannot interact reliably with it.

Our mission is to enable software developers to bring the hands of gamers in a virtual reality environment with our smart gloves. We therefore enable the creation of content that is immersive and highly desirable by gamers. Unlike our competitors that often lose track of hands, our solution doesn’t. Our device will also provide force feedback when grabbing objects.


AltspaceVR is a social platform for VR that is focused on natural and fulfilling communication between users, all within virtual environments. Users can hang out in virtual spaces, collaborate in unique ways, and share synchronized web content in real time.

Stephan Tanguay – Fists of Fire

Do you want to shoot crazy fire balls from your hands? Of course you do!

DODGE, SHOOT and BLOCK attacks from enemies in this 3D game that uses your hands to generate powerful FIREBALLS you can shoot at your enemies.

FISTS OF FIRE VR uses the Leap Motion mounted to the Oculus Rift DK2 to create a physically immersive experience where your hands and position are critical aspects of game play.​


Realization Room

Transportive Technology – Snow Globe

A deep relaxation guide (spiritual psychologist and YouTube star Olivia Kissper) works on your subconscious in a 360, Stereoscopic, binaural environment featuring music by Automated Gardens.


Experience Room


Bublcam is a spherical camera designed to have zero blind spots. It is on the leading edge of what is classified as 360- degree / spherical image capture and video recording. Bubl is unique in the market providing customers with end to end support to capture, view and share spherical media online, via a mobile device and in virtual reality through its hardware, web and mobile applications.

MIXITMEDIA a Transmedia Zone company

MixItMedia is a Transmedia Zone company that focuses on the future of storytelling. Our brand new platform allows us blend emergent media with ones that you’ve been playing with for years. We take the coolest of storytelling tools and mix them to make something even better!

MixItMedia will be showing breath taking videos from Deep 360 on the Samsung Gear VR.

DEEP Inc. – Polar Sea 360

DEEP Inc. is a multi-platform company specializing in the creation of innovative transmedia content and software with a strong focus on games, documentary and 360° immersive storytelling. In recent years, DEEP has produced several interactive productions centered around 360 video including Songs of Freedom (Rhombus Media, CMF, Bellfund) and Polar Sea 360° Interactive (ARTE, TVO, Primitive Entertainment) receiving much international acclaim. DEEP is currently in development on World Class (TVO, Primitive Entertainment), Jacques Mayol: Dolphin Man (ARTE G.E.I.E., Storyline Entertainment) and Worldwar A (ARTE, ZDF).


VR meets DIY.  Hoot lets you experience virtual reality with powerful hardware you already own: your smartphone. Made from light, high-quality acrylic, this VR viewer is easy to put together and even easier to use.
Immersive content at your fingertips.  When it comes to virtual reality, robust hardware is only half the battle. Hoot comes with immersive, 360-degree experiences, rendered in real time on your smartphone.


I Am You is a narrative VR Short Film where the viewer gets immersed in the body of the character as the story unfolds.

discovr – discovr Rome

Discovr takes some of the most important sites of ancient Roman civilization and bring them back to life as immersive learning environments, core elements of modern history curriculums. Complete with learning utilities, Discovr Rome will offer the ultimate learning experience for both students and teachers interested in the classics.

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