With the release of PSVR 2, virtual reality is back in the headlines and app developers are using the new hardware, including Meta Quest 2, to find creative ways to introduce new experiences. But in this reinvented experiment some ideas are just, well, a little unsettling.
The app in question is Wist: Immersive Memories, which is being developed for iOS and Meta Quest 2, and soon on Meta Quest Pro. This app brings old video to life inside a virtual reality headset. There’s a buzz around the app, largely because virtual reality is back in full swing in 2023 with the launch of PSVR 2 – read my PSVR 2 review to find out why everyone loves this headset. Also, rumors continue around a new Apple VR headset, which could really be something special.
Developed by Wist Labs, Wist: Immersive Memories is aimed as a way to relive old ‘memories’ inside VR and AR. It’s the kind of thing we’ve seen in movies for years, including the scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruise remembers his late wife and child, and now you can experience it for yourself . But is it exciting?
Your memories — as you remember them pic.twitter.com/eRwIK6xYTFFebruary 21, 2023
Wist: Immersive Memories works by letting you take videos of everyday things you’d normally record – a birthday party or an Instagrammable moment – and then the app uses newer VR headset sensors to calculate the 3D data of this footage to converted into an immersive experience. Basically you can step back in time and relive real life moments inside a VR headset or using mobile AR.
Our baby is outside! Rebroadcast in 3D via @WistLabs pic.twitter.com/FESgpbhb6aOctober 17, 2022
This sounds great, and in fact Wist is, but I can’t help being a little creeped out using the app for old videos. It feels a little like that time Kanye West surprised his wife, Kim Kardashian, with a hologram of her dead father. And that memory is one that draws me out.
In action, video in Wist breaks apart and the edges blend and break as old videos sit over your view – it looks strange and ghostly as if memories of the past are breaking into your present life . I think the whole thing is exciting.
This is probably just me and many users are going to get a lot of joy out of Wist’s inventive use of VR and AR. It’s a great idea and shows where virtual reality and augmented reality can go in the future. Every day it feels like we’re getting closer to breaking The Matrix.
And let’s consider the wider uses of Wist and AR apps like this; I can imagine seeing the perfect sofa for my home in a store but not being sure – now I can capture a video of it and go home to see it in my own living room. Okay, I’m convincing myself Wist can be fun.
Wist is currently in private beta on iOS and Meta Quest 2, so by the time we all get to use it, I’ll probably have a lot of my past fears resolved. A planned Meta Quest Pro version is also coming this year. Visit the Wist: Immersive Memories (opens in a new tab) website to sign up for the beta or be on the launch waiting list.