Sketchfab, a 3D publishing startup, added a “View-in-VR” button to instantly transition from a draggable 3D model to an immersive VR experience. The feature is even accessible on models embedded on other websites.
This inclusion increases the number of interactive VR objects available online. According to Sketchfab, the site hosts more than 500,000 of them.
From a technical standpoint, Sketchfab CEO Alban Denoyel told UploadVR via email achieving the new button was a relatively simple measure:
This was fairly straightforward. The hard part is the backbone of Sketchfab: accepting a lot of 3D file formats, and displaying them in the browser well and fast and at scale. We support complex shaders, advanced lighting and rendering options, resulting in great realistic display. Adding the VR button was mostly a matter of leveraging head tracking and stereoscopic view. We still have a lot of improvements to make to go beyond this proof of concept.
We’ve previously written about how this tech could signal a revolution for digital images online – a world of previously flat images can now be given depth in VR. The new view-in-VR button takes that revolution to the next level.
Sketchfab was used to save baby’s life last year when a Florida surgeon used the service in conjunction with Google Cardboard to more accurately explore an image of the child’s heart. We asked Denoyel if he believes these kinds of advances will become more common as his platform, and VR in general, continue to grow:
Yes, I totally think this will become common. We are shifting to a world where we’ll have and need a virtual version of everything. This will be great for entertainment of course, but also for a wide-variety of practical applications. I see a future where we’ll all have an accurate virtual version of ourselves, which will evolve as our body does, and we’ll be able to use it for clothing, health, sport, etc.
Sketchfab raised $7 million series A funding in June last year with a leading investment from FirstMark Capital and participation from the company’s previous investors: TechStars, Balderton, Partech and Borealis.