Environment & Engineering

Seeing is believing

Published Oct 30, 2017

Visitors to Wellington Airport could catch butterflies in Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, play drums during the changing of the palace guard in London or send paper lanterns into a Phuket sunset—all without leaving the airport, thanks to a new virtual reality (VR) experience powered by Viclink start-up DreamFlux. 

DreamFlux provides a cutting-edge solution for interactive cinematic experiences, by analysing 360 degree video and detecting light conditions, applying accurate lights, reflections, shadows, and blending digital objects into real world 360 degree videos in real-time. 

The first of its kind anywhere in the world, the fully immersive and interactive Virtual Tour took ‘travellers’ on a trip across the world,  seated in a custom-made ‘travelling trishaw’ at Wellington Airport.  After stopping off at Singapore’s Changi Airport, users then chose to virtually explore one of three Singapore Airlines destinations: Phuket, London or Singapore. 

Designed to celebrate the first anniversary of Singapore Airlines flying to Wellington, the 360 degree video experience was created by Wrestler—a Wellington-based content creation company that specialises in VR and augmented reality. After being introduced to Wrestler by a mutual contact, Viclink Commercialisation Manager Phoebe Kwan (pictured) saw the opportunity for DreamFlux to elevate the planned experience by enabling users to interact with their surroundings. 

“Because DreamFlux enables lighting and shading to move with an object, you can actually interact with that object, even pick it up and move it,” she explains. “By using DreamFlux to power this experience, Wrestler was able to seamlessly blend digital objects—such as the butterflies, drums and paper lanterns—with the 360 video of iconic destinations around them, and make the experience a lot more fun and engaging for the viewers than a typical VR experience can.” 

Phoebe, who has been supporting the DreamFlux founder, Associate Professor Taehyun Rhee from Victoria University’s Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science, to develop his research into a business, says the collaboration with Wrestler has been successful on many fronts. 

“We developed a really close working partnership, which enabled us to exceed stakeholder expectations on the project,” says Phoebe, “Wrestler was extremely supportive in helping DreamFlux validate our technology and bring it to the market, so we hope to work together again in the future.,” she says. 

Associate Professor Rhee was recently awarded a $1 million research grant from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Smart Ideas funding. 

In this three-year project, the computer graphics lecturer will further develop the DreamFlux technology and examine how to capture real-world lighting and reflections in augmented and mixed reality applications.