The VR Voyager Motion Chair from Los Angeles-based Positron ushers in a completely immersive new way to experience movies, spectacular locations, and experiences.
What is the Positron VR Motion Chair
The VR Voyager Motion Chair from Positron combines state-of-the-art technology from different fields. This…
· Has 360 degree unlimited rotation and 47 degree vertical tilt forward and backward
· Spins, swivels and releases up to 6 different flavors in a movie
· Features haptic pillows that deliver fully immersive sound and sensations such as wind sensations or speeding cars
Has customizable LED mood lighting in each module and connected 4K VR headsets
Has been tested against motion sickness and claims to be “vomit proof”
· Is disinfected after each screening, for sanitation
Positron is a pioneer in VR cinema with films featuring fully immersive and original content on topics ranging from King Tut’s grave to perfume to climbing El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Movies last from 5 to 37 minutes and the average ticket price is $20. The eclectic mix of rooms averages 20-25 chairs each. Current locations include the San Francisco de Young Museum, Melbourne Australia, Milan Italy, Toronto, Canada, Los Angeles, CA and the Yosemite Cinema in Oakhurst, CA. The Yosemite cinema, with its 16 Positron Voyager motion pods, has become the first permanent XR cinema in North America. Other locations are expected to include museums, tourist attractions, cruise ships, shopping malls, repurposed warehouses, retail spaces and cinemas. The company plans to be present in 20 cities by the end of 2023.
Founder and CEO Jeffrey Travis combined his technical background as a biomedical engineer who designed motion rigs for simulators, with his filmmaking abilities. Travis has previously directed films, animated shorts, television shows and commercials. He saw an opportunity to enhance storytelling and content with multi-sensory VR experiences. Having worked as an SVP at Disney, I know how critical good storytelling is to the success of a film. Gimmicky technology alone won’t be enough.
Highly unique content
Oscar-winning Indian music composer, singer, songwriter, producer, director, AR Rahman, with support from Intel and others, created the 37-minute VR film, The Musk, about perfume, to be shown in the Positron chairs, with movement, music and perfume integrated into the scenario. It was shot with 14 different cameras and enhanced by 10 visual effects houses. The Musk premiered on the Cannes XR schedule in May 2022 and is currently showing at two Positron XR theaters, one in Los Angeles and one in Toronto.
Other Positron films include “real-life” multi-sensory thrills of being on top of Machu Picchu in Peru, climbing Mount Everest, and a 17-minute Yosemite experience narrated by Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston. According to Yosemite Theater owner Matt Sconce, “You can hike Mount Everest, fly through Yosemite, and climb El Capitan… Things you can’t do in the real world because of the danger and the cost. . Here you can experience these adventures without leaving the cinema. Visitors to Yosemite experience angles and heights they cannot see on a normal visit. They smell the pines and the campfire, as Teddy Roosevelt talks to John Muir and sees the rock paintings flying through the valley with the mist and the waterfalls.
They developed the short film Myth: A Frozen Tale from Disney, and The Secrets of Tutankhamunan immersive 12-minute VR journey that takes viewers closer than ever to the ancient tomb, artifacts and mysteries of King Tut.
To encourage growth and innovation in VR cinema, Positron created the Positron Visionary Award in partnership with the Cannes Film Festival, where VR filmmakers receive awards for excellence in cinematic VR.
The business model and the economy
Positron rents out its virtual reality rooms in partnership with high-end rooms that have established foot traffic, in exchange for a percentage of ticket sales. They produce original documentary and narrative film content for pulpits, license it, and distribute it. No home viewing chairs are available yet, but most likely will be in the future. In September 2020, the company launched an IP licensing program that allows partner companies to use patents, designs, and software to manufacture and sell their own custom VR chairs. An important partner is Taiwanese company Brogent, which operates immersive on-site VR entertainment experiences around the world and can help Positron expand globally and particularly throughout Asia.
Fully-equipped pods cost around $50,000 each. At $20 per ticket, assuming an average of 20 viewings per day, 7 days a week, the break-even point would be reached after 18 months, not including real estate space costs. If the chairs take off, economies of scale could occur, reducing costs.
Why it’s a unique VR pioneer worth watching
Positron is worth watching for several reasons:
It is an excellent example of interdisciplinary innovation and collaboration
It demonstrates how important storytelling is to technology and how technology can make storytelling more engaging, immersive, memorable and intensely experienced
· This is where the Metaverse is heading and the company is well ahead of the curve. Beyond a simple 3D visual experience, it’s multi-sensory, with intensely uplifting movements, scents and sensations.
The question will be how fast they can scale and whether the economy will allow it. The average ticket price of $20 seems reasonable, and they have a significant head start on combining all the necessary technologies with an award-winning VR content pipeline for which they have the rights. Quality content and venue partners are great for getting positive influencer advocacy and early word of mouth.
Special thanks to Rithik Puli, my research assistant, for his help in finding Positron.
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