VR is a crazy experience and I’ll admit is starting to become rather addicting. It’s an odd and satisfying sensation that is highly accurate and smooth. Maybe not as smooth as a bottle of Jameson whiskey smooth after a clutch repair on the old Lude, but it’s damn near impossible to put down.
My co-pilot with HR, John, last month said I should check out a link that involved the Honda Collection Hall in Motegi. Just thinking it was a link to the wonders of a museum that I’ve dreamt of visiting, I noticed the link had “gallery” in the title. Once loaded, my desktop screen loaded up with a beautiful picture of the RA272 (#12) that Ronnie Bucknum drove in the ’65 F1 World Championship, a championship white Honda S500, E300 Electrical Generator and the incredible RC142 Motorbike that finished 6th in the ’59 Isle of Man TT race.
After exploring the click and point nature of the 360 degree movement, you quickly get engrossed into the museum and checking out all of the treasures that HCH holds from Soichiro’s legacy. It’s pure genius in my eyes to have this available. Is that a TN500 in the corner? Can I zoom in on the Team Yamata Civic? The “GIFT SHOP”.
But after an hour of digging into the museum, I recalled seeing there was an option for my tablet that utilized the gyro to give me an even more immersive experience. It was oddly satisfying with the pin-point accuracy of my head movement throughout the living room, granted you were in one spot that the website allowed for, so no walking around here. You could zoom in with ease and take note of the high resolution images for the small details. I particularly loved the icons above some of the collection pieces that played video clips or gave out specs in what you were interested in viewing.
I soon got adventurous and decided that if my tablet could work, so could the gyro in my iphone and it worked fantastic. I almost want to say it was more accurate with my movements than on my tablet. My VR headset, I just bought off ebay laid beside me and wondered, could it work even better?
This headset was an ebay special at around $15 and is based off the Google cardboard design with dual lenses giving the effect of 3D. Now granted its cheap and inexpensive, it worked extremely well. The downside once I loaded my iphone in is that there is no support for a dual or split screen layout for the museum. If you could muster through the awkward lense angle, the sensation of being there got even better. I sat in my office chair and instantly felt being there as much as one could be. The image resolution was even more impressive when zooming in.
So after sharing my HCH experience to a some local Honda guys at the garage, they too loved it but felt it was short lived. So what’s the problem? First off, this is a 360 degree camera perspective that you are looking at through the website and it can only be utilized so much. Second, I had a VR headset that dealt with dual lenses (Google Cardboard) setup and while it worked, a headset like the Samsung Gear VR or an Oculus Rift would prove superb over my ebay buy. Third, and my biggest complaint, you can’t zoom or click on anything once the phone is in the headset. There is a mouse based Bluetooth controller that can be used with these VR experiences and would work great when wanting to click on an arrow to navigate down the hallway or an icon.
So can it be done, YES! But it’s certainly not there yet. Honda has implemented the gyro availability for the gallery recently and it’s damn near impressive to play around with, so give it a try now, you must! But while all this is great, the museum is something that needs to be experienced in person and VR could help or ruin that experience. For those that can’t visit or haven’t yet, this is a perfect solution for a glimpse into Honda’s past.