Specular, a creative studio known for working with emerging technologies, is about to launch a new VR experience called Blackout that explores the inner thoughts of passengers on MTA transit. Viewers don an Oculus Rift headset or Google Cardboard and are transported to a stalled subway car underground. Looking around the car, they can selectively listen in on the other passengers’ thoughts. Part video game and part documentary, Blackout allows viewers to not only ponder the inner worlds of the people around them but also begin to empathize with them.
Blackout is made with DepthKit, a VR filming technique invented by Specular that captures live-action 3D models of real people. It’s powered by the depth sensors that are usually found in video-game controllers, and the models it creates can be inserted into virtual space and viewed from all angles. As Specular claims, “When a virtual reality film is made with DepthKit, it’s like a movie colliding with a video game.”
You can support this new technology—and soon observe the secret thoughts of public transit–riding New Yorkers—by contributing to Specular’s Kickstarter page. Millions of people use the New York City subway system each day. This is a chance to get to know some of them.