MIT Virtual Reality article features Giga Works

MIT: Virtual Reality Applications in the Middle East January 11, 2016

By Wael Nabbout on January 11, 2016

MIT Technology review.
Full article here.

Virtual Reality Applications in the Middle East
Head Mounted Displays by Giga Works


DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – MARCH 06: A visitor uses a Giga Works virtual reality device during Dubai Lynx 2016 at Madinat Jumeirah on March 6, 2016 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images for Dubai Lynx)

Few companies in the Middle East have taken an interest in head mounted devices. In Dubai, Atlantis The Palm resort utilizes VR headsets to give potential clients a view of their premises, including the aquatic facilities. From the creators’ side, Tunisia-based game developer DigitalMania has added their first Oculus compatible game to their portfolio. Whereas in the UAE, Giga Works, founded by Lebanese national Karim Saad, had been manually crafting its 360 degree shooting rigs to create head mounted display compatible footage.

After studying filmmaking and communication arts at Saint Joseph University in Beirut, Saad, now 42, joined Print Works in 2000. It was only three years ago, just when VR tech started to emerge, that he jumped on the bandwagon and founded Giga Works.

At the time, the technology was hand made. He would build 360 capturing devices using multiple cameras and a 3D printed rig. After filming, they would use software to stitch the result together, which would be viewable with an Oculus Rift. A considerable portion of the projects undertaken have been brand activation, usually delivered via the Rift or on a Google cardboard type headset branded as the GigaBox.

The company undertook some governmental projects, developing immersive environments for the general directorate for residency and foreigners affairs. For instance, the company has created a 360 immersive guide through video of Dubai International Airport.

The video informs users of the availability of an e-gate at the airport and how to find it. Officially launched last March, Giga Works has so far undertaken 12 projects. While the tech is still nascent, Saad expects it to normalize within five years and see significant potential, particularly in the UAE.

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