If you are bored at Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, hop into this planetarium-like dome to teleport to your next holiday
Instagram and Facebook can only go so far to satiate your ‘travel thirst’. If you happen to be in Terminal 3 near Gate 41 at Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, for yet another quarantine-related trip, you can take a spontaneous journey by stepping into a lime green dome in the terminal which will instantly transport you to a place of your choice for a fraction of the cost.
This is the latest VR project (which does not require a head-set) of QuaQua, a Hyderabad-based end-to-end virtual travel platform focussed on providing people with 360-degree experiences so they are more clear on a holiday destination.
Sandesh Reddy, co-founder of four-year-old QuaQua, says the optics and timings for this three-year installation are apt, but the ideation has been since pre-coronavirus times. “We’ve actually been working on this since June of 2019 and we were ready to go live right before the lockdown. We were sorting out some last minute technical issues when the lockdown hit,” he recalls.
‘Not a VR company’
- Mixed Reality, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are in nascent stages in India, says Sandesh. It took QuaQua a year and a half to get through their ideation stages and perfect their formula of offerings as a company. “We aren’t just a VR company otherwise we would fall into a whole different category,” he clarifies, “so, as an end-to-end travel platform with a focus on content, we have 2D videos and images and even 360-degree videos, which are all VR-ready. The tag of a VR platform means that if you don’t have a VR headset, you can’t come browse — but that’s not us!”
He continues, “We had been sitting on so much content, we wanted to monetise it and take it to the general public. What better place than Delhi airport which sees huge amounts of traffic, both local and international?” QuaQua realised that no airport in the world has a theatrical experience, so they came up with the first permanent installation of a dome in an airport in the world.
So how does it work? As per airport rules, sanitation, mask-wearing and physical distancing rules are strict. The 323 square-foot dome, which is sanitised hourly, can hold up to 16 people, but physical distancing measures allows a maximum of four people in, after a travel experience is chosen. What follows is a projection of five to seven minutes.
Experiences include a day/night walk-through of Venice, Italy, and of Luxor Temple, Egypt. So far, the feedback has been one of collective excitement. Sandesh explains, “The content, based on feedback, is refreshed every month and a half. We started with two titles on launch day and now we are close to 10. We have child-friendly animated content, as well as outer space or underwater titles for really immersive experiences.”