Earlier this week I had the awesome chance to experience my first fully interactive 4D virtual experience. It all happened while I was walking around the Chrysler showroom floor at the Detroit auto show when I was approached by Bella. Bella is a brand ambassador that asked me if I’d like to tour the new Chrysler 200 factory. Truthfully, the idea of making my way out of the COBO Center, waiting for a shuttle in -4 degree weather, driving to the factory to then be shuttled back was a bit much. I’d really LOVE to visit the factory but it just wasn’t the right time as I still had a ton of things to do at the show. That’s when Bella said, common’ it’ll just take 4 minutes and you’ll get to see the factory’s body shop, paint shop and metrology center. Let’s just say I was a bit confused… Next thing I know I’m being instructed on how to operate a new piece of technology called Oculus Rift DK2.
The Oculus Rift DK2 headset is the latest and greatest in virtual reality, and along with Chrysler and their advertising agency have created the one-of-kind interactive experience “Beneath the Surface”. And the best part? It takes place inside a real Chrysler 200!
It all starts with a pretty impressive scene where all the interior panels start separating as the seat vibrates to some pretty intense sound effects. Next you get to a sort of home screen in which to get to choose what section of the factory you want to visit first.
I chose to see the body shop first, there I was able to see how robots dance a precise waltz to weld the 200’s frame. Then I checked out the paint shop, where the voice guided guidance explained to me how Chrysler prepares the 200’s body for a double coat of paint. And lastly my favorite, the metrology center… there I moved my head around to see engineers work all around the car. The entire experience is very impressive and almost surreal. When the tour is complete, the interior panels that initially flew out the car come back inside and put themselves back together. Cool huh? “Beneath the Surface” succeeds at highlighting features that customers could never experience on the showroom floor.
I walked away hugely impressed with such a cool and original experience. In an era when companies fiercely compete to seduce consumers, this is by far one of the coolest ways to do it.