What I did
Sky Collection provides an immersive shopping experience through showcasing items in a luxury virtual shop. Flyers are able to slide through items, pick and zoom in for 360 view of an item, and place items in a shopping basket for the payment. The darkroom and spotlight effect creates an exclusive mood and allows users to concentrate on each item to gain full experience and information which leads to a more confident buying decision.
My friends and I participated in the 5th Seattle VR Hackaton that happened in April 21 - 23 (40 hours long). This was my first time designing and developing a Virtual Reality application using Unity. My main contribution for this project was building UI grid system in Virtual Reality environment and working on dynamic prefabs and 3d assets.
Current inflight duty free shopping is limited in information to just few pages of paper magazines (rarely with full image of a product). This is a huge blocker for flyers to make a final buying decision, especially considering how people generally intend to buy expensive items at the duty free. Potential buyers are easily distracted in flight while reading through magazines, making it impossible to concentrate on each item they are considering to buy.
How we built it
Sky Collection is built on Unity for Google VR Daydream. We have strategically utilized gvr controller api for a seamless user experience. We concerns about the physical constraints in the airplane space. Passengers couldn’t move freely because of the limited space. So, we would like to use Google Daydream which is a good fit for creating a stationary vr environment for this project.
My main contribution was designing and creating UI Grid System for VR Space and also making dynamic components for 3d prefabs.
Items are currently uploaded as DAE files from publicly available resources (Mostly from sketchfab). For future improvements, Sky Collection can be integrated with leading e-commerce platforms to present dynamic shopping experience even at the 30,000 ft in the sky.
Challenges we ran into
Daydream's limitation on no-absolute-positioning input was a big challenge. We did not let this challenge limit the user shopping experience by showcasing items in a surrounding cylinderical way rather than allowing user to walk around the collection showroom. Also the lack of reference for Daydream API and its dependency issues slowed our process. The Daydream API for Unity was quite unstable due to its Android SDK, JDK library dependencies. The lack of descriptive documentation, and community for Daydream development made it difficult for us to complete our product with full-functionalities.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Even we were not win the event, We were proud of product that can help present the fully immersive experience of looking through duty free items with focus and information about them. This allowed for the shopping itself to be a pleasurable experience in flight rather than a mission to find an appropriate item to buy from the current text-heavy magazines to get the duty free benefit. This will naturally lead to significantly increased sales revenue for both airlines and vendors.
What I learned
It was everyone's first Unity or just VR exposure. We are all very impressed by the capabilities of the platform and excited about endless possibilities and opportunities we can explore through the power of VR. We believe VR is a new channel of technology that empowers humans to dare the previously unreachable.