Canada conference and expo helping virtual reality gain widespread acceptance

VRTO featured nearly 100 speakers and 50 exhibitors, representing tech majors like Google, Microsoft, IMAX, AMD, with participants from NASA Ames Research, and various universities.
VRTO founder and executive director Keram Malicki-Sanchez.(Captive Camera)
VRTO founder and executive director Keram Malicki-Sanchez.(Captive Camera)
Updated on Jul 11, 2017 04:11 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Toronto | By

Smaller than a golf ball, a miniature boxwood prayer bead from medieval Holland, depicting heaven and hell, is now in another avatar: A virtual reality display, where a user can walk through its layers, taking in details of the minute carvings at multiple angles, look at the face of one figure that, in real life, would be the size of a pinhead.

This was among the exhibits at the recent Virtual and Augmented Reality Conference and Expo (or VRTO).

Featuring nearly 100 speakers and 50 exhibitors, VRTO was in its second year and brought bleeding-edge technology to the space at Ryerson University in Toronto.

Enhanced acceptance of VRTO has obviously pleased its founder and executive director Keram Malicki-Sanchez, as he said, “It has doubled in terms of the number of attendees and my effort to get those people through the door is probably half.”

VRTO founder and executive director Keram Malicki-Sanchez. (Captive Camera)
VRTO founder and executive director Keram Malicki-Sanchez. (Captive Camera)

Those at VRTO represented tech majors like Google, Microsoft, IMAX, AMD, with participants from NASA Ames Research, and various universities.

This was where you could experience VR in a 360 environment, literally, in what is described as IglooVision, while watching a immersive short feature starring Godzilla and made by Google, as a haptic harness created a sense of motion, feeling tremors and shakes.

VRTO provided an inkling of the sectors that resurgent VR tech may impact in the near future: From medicine to manufacturing, movies and gaming, to research.

Or even philanthrophy, as with GivLuv, which “allows viewers to virtually experience the stories of people impacted by charities across the world and for the first time make a contribution through their headsets.

All of this matches Malicki-Sanchez’ vision for VRTO to “see it at the very dawn of a medium which is finally coming into its own, steer the conversation towards true discovery, true experimentation, broad thinking”.


    Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb.

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