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Technicolor Debuts Massive Mars VR Initiative

LOS ANGELES. — In what may be the most ambitious virtual reality project to date, Technicolor, HP and others have partnered to put together a vision of a viable, sustainable habitat for a million people on Mars.

Dubbed “HP Mars Home Planet,” the global VR endeavor is bringing together professional engineers, designers, architects and artists to piece together everything needed to put together an urban habitat on Mars, providing not just a unique VR creative space for designers, but actually compliment government and private industry efforts toward Mars colonization.

Announced June 16 as part of the launch of a new Technicolor Experience Center (TEC) — designed to allow tech and media companies to experiment with new, immersive content experiences — the Mars VR initiative will not only be accessible to VR and science professionals, but also to casual VR fans, first via the HTC Vive, but with plans to expand beyond one dedicated headset.

Tim Sarnoff, deputy CEO and president of production services for Technicolor, said the Mars VR experience — which also involves VR players NVIDIA, Unreal Engine, Fusion and Autodesk — is just the first example of what TEC is aiming to achieve: the power of keeping technology and content in synch.

“Part of this is just to let the world know who we are, bringing Technicolor’s [image] into the 21st Century,” he said. “We’ll be here for a while, and we’ll continue to push the boundaries of imagery in [entertainment].”

Rick Champagne, worldwide segment manager for HP, said the Mars VR collaboration is something that’s never been before, and will offer everyone involved a unique experience: “We’re going to open this up to the community, who will be able to contribute to this VR experience,” he said. “This project looks beyond 2030, to a time in our future where there are families and communities living on Mars. With this project, we hope to solve some of the challenges that will come.

“And ultimately, through the VR experience, we hope to have people today be able to experience what life on Mars might be like in the distant future,” Champagne said.