Meetups geared towards virtual reality are spreading across the world like an unstoppable force, gathering momentum wherever they roam. From Irvine to San Francisco to Tampa to Boston to Bristol to Sydney, VR focused events are popping up everywhere. The birth of consumer virtual reality is emerging and VR enthusiasts throughout many cities are noticing the trend. Even early on, friends and co-workers involved in the virtual reality space have been carpooling between meetups. Now, the legendary meetup group Silicon Valley Virtual Reality (SVVR) is bringing together the community even further as they plan to charter a bus from Northern California down South for the 1st ever Virtual Reality Los Angeles (VRLA) expo on March 22th, 2015.
VRLA has hosted several meetups in the past. Their inaugural event was held in April, 2014 sparking the VR movement in the local area. Their second get-together attracted even more people. It was located at the infamous MxR Lab (where Oculus’s founder Palmer Luckey researched prior to starting his own company). Since then, the VRLA attendee numbers have skyrocketed, almost doubling each time. A mixer for the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) was coordinated, two more meetups were thrown; and now, their latest event is projected to reach conference level status with hundreds upon hundreds of virtual reality community members registered to attend. The demand is so high that SVVR decided to rent out a large bus, providing those interested in traveling from San Francisco a dedicated vehicle to get there and back.
There has been talks of a putting together trips like this before. During the MxR Lab meetup, ideas of a VR van started to arise. Some suggested that a mobile virtual reality lab should be created so that community activists can journey from event to event, turning the world on to virtual reality as they go. Those discussions and many others like it have finally come to fruition with the culmination of an epic VR bus trip that will make its way to the VRLA expo.
The inspiration for the SVVR road trip stems from a similar mode of transportation called the StartupBus that actively travels across parts of the globe in an effort to bring developers together to create something new. As they ride along the freeways from one point to the next, people inside the vehicle form teams to produce an app or a website that is pitched to investors at the end of the trip. The StartupBus is an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience for developers; so it makes sense that other groups like SVVR would want to establish trips like this in its wake.
Getting on the road specifically for virtual reality events was bound to occur eventually. In fact, smaller trips have been happening for a while. For example, a team of VR evangelists drove across the country taking photos of them wearing virtual reality headsets along the way. Previous to that, Oculus debuted a shiny airstream trailer at a gaming conference called Indiecade that housed several VR rigs inside.
There is just something special about getting on a bus and journeying across the elastic highways of America. For VR, it is a great way to show off the new computing platform.
The trip will begin early Sunday morning in San Francisco. The schedule is posted below:
- 6:30AM Depart Millbrae Transit Center
- 7:00AM Depart Hacker Dojo, Mountain View
- 1:00PM Arrive JW Marriott Hotel, Los Angeles
- 6:00PM Depart JW Marriott Hotel, Los Angeles
- 12:00AM Arrive Hacker Dojo, Mountain View
- 12:30AM Arrive Millbrae Transit Center
Coffee and donuts will be given out in the morning to ease the pain of the early departure time. The bus will have ten 110v outlets readily available to plug in any VR rigs that make it inside. There is a restroom on the vehicle, and wifi for the whole trip.
Seats on the bus are selling fast, but there are still some available (as of 3/19/2015 1:30am PST). So, if you are interested in joining this spectacular VR excursion, tickets can be purchased on the dedicated Eventbrite page. The cost per seat is a mere $100 for this trip. Rarely does an experience like this pop up, so seize the opportunity while you still can!