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: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

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!

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.
Product Review

The competition was fierce, and this is the best TV of 2018

With stellar picture quality, excellent ease of use, and rich features, the LG C8 OLED is the best TV you can buy in 2018, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is right for you. Check out our review to learn more.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.

From the road to your wrist, see how Android has evolved over the past 10 years

Android started out as just a mobile operating system, but 10 years in it's pretty much everywhere. Check out our round-up of all the different Android variations that have cropped up so far, and what might be coming in the future.

Oculus VR could upgrade the Rift with a new display in 2019

Oculus could be set to release a new version of its Rift headset in 2019, but it will be more of a modest upgrade than a true sequel. The Rift S, as its purportedly called, will have a new display, and inside-out tracking.

Google awarded patent for using eye tracking to detect expressions in VR

Google was awarded a patent that involves using eye tracking to infer facial expressions using machine learning in virtual reality. The tech could help make virtual reality a whole lot more immersive than it already is.

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.
Virtual Reality

Prototype Valve VR headset leaked: HTC Vive challenger confirmed?

Leaked images revealed that a Valve VR headset is in development, even amid Valve's partnership with HTC for the HTC Vive. Sources confirmed the device, which may be bundled with a Half-Life VR game.
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.

The best HTC Vive games available today

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.

A Google patent shows a way to make VR even more immersive

Virtual reality can be a really immersive experience, but it does sometimes it does have boundaries. Google has addressed this problem by patenting shoes with a flexible region on the bottom.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.