Laval Virtual 2008 – Tradeshow

This year Laval Virtual was celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The tradeshow is getting bigger and there was not enough room for all the exhibitors that wanted a booth!

There was not many technical innovations, rather evolutions of existing principles. This tends to prove the point I was trying to make last year that we are not making the best out of the current hardware.

There were much less HMDs than last year as if non intrusive displays (eg autostereoscopic screens or projectors) were preferred.

I’ll probably make another post concerning the new hardware I’ve seen here and at IEEE VR later.

Read on for more …

Here’s the gallery.

There were two Caves !

The old SAS3 with the Inca haptics system by Haption, and the DAVE (Definitely Affordable Virtual Environement), by Digital Image (makers of the very clever 3d² projector), which costs only 200’000$ !

– The SAS3 with the Inca –

– The DAVE –

The SIVIC application by ESCIN students was once again a model of immersion in a virtual environment. A small appartment, a corpse, a cop and a murder to resolve. Having the cop near you in the Cave is really impressive. Here’s a video on french TV News.

Update: Here’s the official video :


We have seen at least three multi-touch tables, even one built by students (from ESIEA) which was working really great! The other were commercial products by Immersion, byVolta and Visyo.

– Immersion demonstrating its multi-touch table –

– byVolta –

– Visyo –


There were some really interesting artistic installation like Phantasm from the japanese company Monoscape. A very simple yet incredibly poetic installation, where butterflies would follow the red glowing ball you have in your hands. I loved to be in here, it was so calm and really calmed me down from the crazy pace of the show.

– Phantasm by Monoscape –

Other japanese installation include Ants in the Pants where you wear a special glove which makes you believe ants are crawling up your arm, Byu-Byu View where you would blow to interact with the 3d world or a distant person, and feel the blow in return, Kagekami where you have to catch objects with the shadow of your hand

The Dreaming Pillow, by Armella Leung et Olivier Oswald (ATI université Paris VIII et Ecole des Mines de Paris) was also a peace haven. I just sat in the sand and enjoyed it for 10 mins. I just didn’t want to leave =)

I’m very happy because they both got an award! That really shows that even we, working in that great inspiring field, really need some poetry. And we can get the most creative and inspiring interactive artistic environment, so feel free to experiment and give us some dream!

Students craft

Once again students from Le Village de la Création did their best to create innovative installations;

SoundQuest by Alexis Zerroug (who was part of the Verdun team last year) was using Wiimotes as a head tracker. Four wiimotes on the ceiling looking down, a headphone with LEDs on top to get the position and a wiimote inside the headphone to get orientation information.

KitchenBreak, by fellow VR Geek Olivier Morel des Vallons and his team, used a custom made cylindrical screen with custom 180° warping (and we know that’s hard 😉

– Alexis Zerroug and his Wiimote headtracking –


Jun Fujiki, creator of Echochrom was here to present his incredible game.

Paul Debevec was presenting the interactive 360° Light Field Display, which is really impressive to see really running. The reason why it’s black and white is that they got rid of the chromatic wheel of the DLP projector to get a higher framerate. Clever!

The now famous Johnny Lee was here as a jury member, and researcher Skip Rizzo was invited to give a speech about VR and rehabilitation (I’ll try to make a summary in an another post).


During the main dinner and the award ceremony, nearly everything was said in french. I found that sad and not really respectful of our foreign guests who were completely lost. When we go to a conference in a foreign country I’m quite glad everything is in english. During the conference some presentations were also in french but at least there was a translator service.

Virtual Fantasy

I’m a bit sad about the fact that the Virtual Fantasy student competition imposed a software to the students. In previous competitions, students were completely free to create an application with whatever input device they wanted, and that resulted in really great and fun applications. The tool imposed this year didn’t not allow that, and the theme was also a bit too serious (and to be honest the graphisms of the winner looked like 3d from 10 years ago). So this year I decided not to be a member of the jury, not because of the imposed software, but because for me this competition wasn’t about immersive VR as it used to be.


This year was the celebrating the 10th anniversary of Laval Virtual. Many major actors were present and showed that the field is maturing; the costs are going down, the commercial offers are based on real life applications and not just some potential market, and the application are more diversified especially in the medical/therapeutic field as was demonstrated during the conferences. So see you in 10 years to see where all this has gone !

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  1. Thank you for the photograph.
    It was a pleasure to talk with you, and see a lot of people at Laval Virtual. After 10 years, it’s look like a big family party 🙂

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