Imax details virtual reality center pilot program starting in the United Kingdom

imax vr center manchester starvr 006
Rich Shibley/Digital Trends
Experimentation is the key to virtual reality at this early stage in the technology’s maturation — we’re seeing developers experiment with new uses for the technology, and other companies experiment with methods of delivering that content to consumers. Now, Imax has announced plans for a pilot VR center that’s set to open in the United Kingdom before the end of 2016.

Working in conjunction with cinema chain Odeon, Imax will open the center at The Printworks entertainment hub in the city of Manchester. The space will feature modular pods that can be modified to facilitate various different experiences, according to a report from Engadget.

For instance, if you wanted to take in a 360-degree movie alone, you could pay for an individual pod and enjoy the show. Conversely, if you and your friends wanted to experience a cooperative VR game like Star Trek Bridge Crew as a group, the center could accommodate.

The idea is to give people who don’t want to invest in their own VR setup a method of accessing this kind of experience. Someone with a casual curiosity is unlikely to pay for both a headset and hardware capable of running the content, but the price of admission for a session could be much more appealing.

Imax has partnered with Acer and Starbreeze AB, the company behind the StarVR headset, to source hardware for the center. Details on content are sparse, but the company claims to be working with Hollywood studios as well as video game publishers.

For now, Imax is simply looking to test the waters. The Manchester facility will be followed by a similar pilot program in Los Angeles, ahead of centers in Asia, the Middle East, Western Europe, and the United States. The company will use these test beds to figure out what works, before expanding the concept to multiplexes, shopping malls, and other tourist destinations worldwide.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Virtual Reality

Getting into VR is spendy. Which headset is truly worth your hard-earned cash?

Virtual reality has finally gone mainstream, but how do you find the best VR headset for you? Check out a few of our favorites, whether you want the best of the best or a budget alternative for your mobile device.
Wearables

To be blunt, the Vuzix Blade smartglasses just don’t cut it

We tried out the Vuzix Blade to find out if it’s worth shelling out $1,000 for smartglasses. Are these augmented reality, Android-powered glasses really ready for primetime or just an expensive gimmick that no one really needs?
Gaming

The best VR headsets at CES 2019 could bring the technology to the mainstream

While there weren't a ton of new VR headset on display at CES 2019, the ones we saw led us to believe that VR could have a real moment soon, both from a gaming and business standpoint.
Gaming

These are the coolest virtual and augmented reality gadgets from CES 2019

CES 2019 had plenty of VR and AR gadgets on display, including headsets that completely change how you experience virtual reality, and some that don't even require a PC or a phone to run.
Gaming

These shoes let me stroll through ‘Skyrim,’ and I desperately want to go back

After being funded in just two hours on Kickstarter back in October 2018, Cybershoes has earned itself a place among the coolest VR walking and running tech. At CES 2019, we got to try them out and they live up to the hype.
Gaming

The Teslasuit could turn Black Mirror’s terrifying ‘Playtest’ into a reality

We spoke with Teslasuit co-founder Dimitri Mikhalchuk about VR gaming at CES 2019. With all its features, the future of the Teslasuit and virtual reality look bright. And it also sounds a bit like a Black Mirror episode.
Computing

Could the next Microsoft HoloLens be announced at MWC 2019?

After not having a presence at Mobile World Congress for three years, Microsoft is now sending out media invites for a press conference on February 24 during the annual event in Barcelona. Could a next-generation HoloLens be on the way?
Gaming

Immerse yourself in a new universe with these incredible PSVR games

The PSVR has surpassed expectations and along with it comes an incredible catalog of games. There's plenty of amazing experiences to be had so we've put together a list of the best PSVR games available today.
Gaming

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.
Virtual Reality

Is the Vive Pro better than the original Vive? Our answer might surprise you

HTC Vive vs. Vive Pro, which comes out on top? That's the subject of our latest comparison, which looks at everything from tracking solutions, to controllers, and the brand new headset that could set a new standard for VR.
Computing

Samsung files a VR patent featuring a curved OLED display

Doubling down on its emphasis on curved displays, Samsung recently filed a design patent for a new virtual reality headset that could feature a curved OLED display, which would be an interesting development in VR.