Sydney startup Relax VR has announced it will be featured on Google’s new mobile virtual reality platform Daydream. Looking to enter the next frontier in the VR space, Google’s new platform will officially launch in November. Giving users the ability to explore new worlds, alternate realities and relive history, Google is hoping the platform will be the one to lead them all in consumer-grade VR.
In looking at the possibilities of alternate realities, Relax VR, founded by two Australian entrepreneurs Sourabh Jain and Eddie Cranswick, has developed a wide range of virtual and augmented reality experiences. These experiences have moved away from the gaming focus that has been typical to this form of technology. Relax VR is looking at ways to immerse and relax users in alternative environments like beaches and forests.
“The objective is it immerses you into the scene, kind of tricks your brain into thinking that you’re somewhere else, somewhere more idyllic to your current location and where you can ease yourself into a meditation,” explained Jain.
The Australian startup has been offered a spot on Daydream’s platform and will sit alongside a lineup of other VR applications and big companies like CNN, Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times, who are also playing around in the VR space.
“It’s not every day that you get to be part of something truly special. Startup life can really suck, but it’s days like today that make it worth it,” Cranswick said in a Facebook post.
Relax VR was launched earlier this year and has been travelling the hard road of bootstrapping. Cranswick is passionate about the space, as he believes that VR technology showcases the “biggest opportunities in technology since the beginning of the internet.”
“Virtual Reality is set to change everything, from how we communicate, do business, experience entertainment, and even relax,” he added.
Relax VR holds a selection of ocean-based and natural scenes with 360 degree world views. Once users select the scene on their phone they can then experience the augmented world, initially through a Google Cardboard headset and soon on the Daydream platform.
Jain, a yoga and meditation teacher with background in technology startups in the health and wellness space, describes the potential for virtual reality to be used as a tool for relaxation.
“We are making relaxation easier and faster with a three-tiered approach using VR. We first disconnect the user from their existing environment through a VR headset, trigger a happy memory through serene 360 degree videos of natural environments, and finally provide soothing music and guided meditations to provide a complete relaxation experience.”
The startup has been one of the top downloaded VR apps in Australia and other countries around the world and has been featured in the App and Google Play Store. Currently the founders are booking a trip to Silicon Valley where they will seek investment to expand and scale their startup.
According to Fast Company, analysts expect the VR industry will become a $30 billion market by 2020, which includes consumer hardware and software.
VR technology has been explored in Australia for a number of different industries including gaming, real estate and retail.
In May this year Myer and eBay partnered to launch a virtual reality department store and Realestate.com has been showcasing its possibilities in selling houses. Melbourne startup Zero Latency has become the first commercially operating venue in the world that offers multi-player virtual reality experiences and Melbourne augmented reality startup Plattar raised $1.1 million in seed funding from News Corp in April this year.
As Australians are fast adopters of technology, Google’s Daydream presents a great opportunity to startups like Relax VR to expand its reach. Along with meditation experiences, Daydream will enable users to enter a number of VR experiences including watching movies on a virtual big screen, visit museums, cities and other planets and be in the game whether that’s live sport or Need for Speed.
“To say I’m thrilled is an understatement,” said Cranswick. “Daydream is going to be incredible and we’re super excited to show everyone our new app we’ve built especially for the release.”
Image: Sourabh Jain and Eddie Cranswick. Source: Supplied.