Virtual Reality Without Limits

By: Stephanie Chou, Isobar NowLab Intern

When people first walk into Isobar, they are greeted by a friendly receptionist just like any other office. Once they travel through the hallway a few feet, however, they start to notice a bubbling excitement in the air. It is hard to describe but people see it in the employees and in the office spaces, the liveliness surrounding everything.

At Isobar, the excitement is born hand in hand with the people and their work. The company strives to build unbounded creations to inspire people and at the heart of this imagination lives the NowLab. The NowLab is like its name. It is the place to be because it lives at the forefront of invention, utilizing the newest technology to help advance our world today and I have been lucky enough to work here for the past nine weeks.

Who am I?

My name is Stephanie and I am an undergraduate studying at MIT. At college, I have become accustomed to the hectic, daily life that seems like a whirlwind of meeting new people, learning crazy new topics, and dreaming of improving the world.

I love college but during school I focus on absorbing knowledge and ideas on how to improve the world from those around me. Here at Isobar, however, I have had the chance to dive head first into building what I hope can change the world around me.

Over the course of my internship I have played with all of the technology that I’ve dreamed of using but never thought I would actually use: 3D printers and scanners, Myo bands, Leap Motions, and most impressively, virtual reality headsets like the Oculus, Samsung Gear VR, and HTC Vive.

Leigh Christie and Dave Meeker, who oversee the Isobar NowLab, did not just want me to play with these cool toys, to my disappointment. Instead, they wanted me to learn how to bring virtual reality to life. They dreamed of making virtual reality breach the physical world, and I was supposed to be the one to do it.

Unlike some people my age, I have never built a game before, much less a game in Unity3D that was meant to be lifelike. The only formal coding knowledge I had was a three week crash course in Python during winter break. But throughout my life I’ve learned that I pick up skills pretty quickly and I’ve always enjoyed doing what seems impossible.

For three weeks I researched, designed, and built a virtual reality world. Help was never farther than a message away and slowly I brought to life a world that people could dream in. My world is one where only the best of life exists. The quiet amazement of nature lives inside and outside my project because I was able to connect the virtual reality environment with physical reactions that mimicked the heat of the sun and the breeze of the wind. Also, the hope and joy of people radiates throughout because in the virtual reality world, people can leave behind the social stereotypes that infiltrate people’s thoughts when they see someone’s physical appearance. Instead, people can embrace their purest self and meet others who can be themselves as well.

So many great ideas are born at Isobar, and while my time here has come to an end, I cannot wait to see what Isobar will do next.