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Epson projectors enhance Igloo’s VR dome

As a provider of dedicated, 360º shared virtual reality (VR) projection spaces, Igloo Vision’s success is founded on its ability to create fully immersive experiences that amaze and delight in equal measure. It offers a range of immersive projection domes and cylinders that are used for events, training sessions and collaborative engagements.

The company’s 12.5m dome uses five projectors – and Igloo’s own proprietary image stitching software – to display VR content of practically any format. Use cases are split into three broad areas: experiences, such as brand engagement events; simulations, such as training environments for the likes of the military and emergency services; and visualisations, commonly used by architecture or construction companies.

To best execute these different scenarios and satisfy its high-profile clients – which include Adidas, Toyota and Smirnoff – Igloo Vision required a projector solution that combined affordability and image quality. Another key factor was reliability. Clients pay significant sums of money to put on these experiences and do not want to disappoint the 200 or more people that the 12.5m dome can entertain.

It turned to Epson to fulfil its projection requirements, and selected the Epson EB-L1105U large-venue laser projector. This 6,000-lumen WUXGA model offers low-maintenance performance and flexible positioning, thanks to a new range of motorised lenses that allow the projector to be placed virtually anywhere without any image distortion.

“We had heard lots of good things about Epson’s new laser installation projectors so we got some in to evaluate and it was almost a no-brainer to use them in our large structures. They delivered exactly what we wanted,” said Peter Halliday, head of communications at Igloo.

The Epson EB-L1105U laser installation projector has proved more reliable than Igloo’s previous projection solution, ensuring that the only surprises to appear are positive ones. Clients can focus on enjoying the immersive projections and studio-quality soundscapes without having to worry about technological failures.

Not only that, the projectors’ 3LCD technology is offering significantly improved image quality. “The great thing about the projectors is the constant brightness and colour accuracy,” added Halliday. “For all of our work, we do image warping and edge-blending via at least five projectors, so any variations in brightness and colour accuracy really show. In the past, with lamp projectors, we’d spend a lot of time on calibration but, with the new Epson laser projectors and their in-built cameras, this process is quicker and simpler.

“Laser projectors have traditionally delivered on quality and reliability but, for a company like ours, the up-front costs have been prohibitive. Now that’s starting to change.”

As well as its 12.5m dome, Igloo also has 6m and 9m versions which are more frequently used. The company now plans to incorporate a greater range of Epson projectors into these solutions as new features are released and the price-quality-reliability equation continues to improve.