A Pagani car, including extras, typically costs about $2Million. If you want to buy a $2Million car, as one does, how do you go about its configuration and setup? I suppose its optional extras would be slightly more sophisticated than the bog standard fabric protection spray and DAB radio? Of course, a Pagani car is actually so bespoke that the company is said to make less than 100 cars per year. That is part of the attraction for its super rich clientele. Some novel customization examples for the Pagani Huayra include:
Pick the color, style and fabric of choice for more than 1000 items
Complement your purchase with Pagani branded luggage to pop in your boot.
The Huayra badge fitted to the rear end of the car is produced from a single solid piece of aluminium in a process that takes 24 hours
The engine cover also takes about five days to complete
The style of your bow on delivery day can match the shape of your super-yacht
(I made that last one up, although it could probably be arranged)
A Painter’s Vision
Because the Pagani is so customisable, and so few cars are made every year, it is virtually impossible to see the one you ordered before it arrives. In fact, there are so few cars available you can’t even see a similar one in the showroom. A few years ago, when you finally managed to order a Pagani (there is a substantial waiting list), the company would send a painter to your home to sit with you and walk through the configuration. The painter would enable you to walk through its myriad of options and thus help you get a better understanding of what the car would actually look like upon delivery.
Remarkable of course, but also slightly inefficient? How do you know if the Painter got every little detail spot on (excuse the pun)? How do you make sure you would not be disappointed with the final result?
Well, Pagani recently decided to up its game. They brought their customisation process into the 21st century and provide a new service, delivered by a company called ZeroLight. I was at an event recently where the CMO of ZeroLight spoke: François de Bodinat explained that ZeroLight “is a company which uses Virtual Reality to provide customers of highly customized products the best possible buying experience.”
ZeroLight is able to provide Pagani’s customers with a unique Virtual Reality experience of their customized car before it gets delivered. And what’s more, you can pull all the car’s components off with the wireless controller. You can strip it completely bare if you want to. Want to pull the door off and throw it into the sky? Go ahead. Or would you rather lift the hood and see the engine, go ahead. Why don’t you step inside! Yup, just walk through the doors and “sit” inside. I got to try it myself and it was a fun experience to be completely carefree (and careless) with the expensive supercar. The feeling of presence established a connection with that car that would have been impossible to replicate with a 2D experience.
The event that I attended was The Virtual_ in the CitizenM Hotel in London on Thursday 23rd February. The event had a sort of living-room feel, with a variety of really interesting speakers and live Virtual Reality demonstrations. The trendy hotel in central London looking out on Tower Bridge was the perfect match for this funky get-together of creative minds and curious adventure seekers.
The Virtual_’s first event was in Glasgow, and this was the second “episode” based in London. They are now seeking to replicate the event all across the UK, Europe and the US. It aims to connect people from different industries and different locations who are leveraging new technologies in creative ways.
Steve Dann & Medical Realities
The first speaker of the evening was Steve Dann, Co-Founder of Medical Realities. Medical Realities is an innovative group offering medical training products, specializing in Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and serious games. By using consumer-level VR devices such as the Oculus Rift, Medical Realities can reduce the cost of training, reach a wider audience & provide a completely safe learning environment for medical students. Steve also owns a company called Amplified Robot and is head of the London branch of the VR/AR Association, and has managed to create a large following in a relatively short space of time.
Steve’s MeetUp Group has only been around for 9 months and already has more than 600 members. The London branch of the VR/AR Association meets every 2 months and host speakers and panelists who demo and discuss all aspects of VR and AR and how it applies to entertainment, gaming, enterprise, education, medicine, productivity and more.
Steve explained his “Virtual Surgeon” product is trying to address significant issues in medical education. By 2030, the UK expects a large percentage of its National Healthcare System’s surgeons to retire. So the UK is in desperate need to train a lot more surgeons. Taking into account that the average time to train a surgeon is typically about 15 years, we are already 2 years late in tackling this issue. The limitations that apply to more traditional education methods are often impacted by limitations such as being physically present in the operating theatre.
Virtual Surgeon is therefore trying to reduce the time it takes to train surgeons by providing a safe platform to learn and experience surgery. Virtual Surgeon uses Virtual Reality augmented with educational features such as the ability to switch between various viewpoints and adding contextual descriptions of what you see in front of you. The medical students who attended would pick up a lot of information that they had probably not been aware of, even if they had been present in the room.
Storytelling with Björk and Unity
Another speaker at the event was Andy Brammall, Technical Sales Director from the 3D gaming software giant Unity. Unity is the leading global game industry software and plays an important part in a booming global games market. More games are made with Unity than with any other game technology.
Andy’s presentation was about the diversity of 3D and VR/AR engineering and how Unity incorporates and facilitates storytelling. Andy told a story about how the Icelandic singer Björk organised an event at Somerset House in London last year, covered here by The Guardian.
As part of the event Björk wanted to organise a Virtual press-conference where she could address the press from Iceland, but also be physically “present” by live-streaming her body movements into a Virtual Reality engine, created by Unity. Björk basically sat in a room with her head and body completely covered in sensors and was live streamed more than 1100 miles from Reykjavik to London across the Ocean. Andy’s team had only 4 days to figure out how this would work in practice, but with some sleepless nights later managed to pull it off successfully.
The Carte Blanche Concept
Andy also shared Unity’s remarkable vision for the future of Virtual Reality design where anyone can create and develop 3D worlds without a need to have knowledge of coding.
If we manage to open development up to the masses I think we could have a game changer on our hands with regards to Content creation.The adoption of Virtual Reality may have been slower than expected, but I have faith in its inevitable expansion and further adoption.
I really enjoyed my time at The Virtual_ event. So if you get a chance to visit any of the regional hosted events I recommend you attend if you can!