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Using drones for virtual reality – Or Lev-Cohen

Or Lev-Cohen on the Immersive Wire Podcast

On the first episode of The Immersive Wire is Or Lev-Cohen, a final-year Industrial Design student from Tel-Aviv. Lev-Cohen is looking into how immersive tech can be used with drones to provide people with a flying experience that they can control. In particular, he focuses on where his passion comes from, the intricacies for designing products for fringe audiences, and his views on the future of virtual reality.

Learn about how a student got into virtual reality, including how he built his expertise and experience while studying. Or also explores drones, flying, and how to use immersive for film.

Listen to the episode:

Summary of the podcast episode:

Good day! Please introduce yourself

Thank you for inviting me. My name is Or Lev-Cohen. I’m an industrial designer from Tel Aviv, Israel. And excited to be here.

What do you do as your job?

Oh, my job I’m an industrial designer and project manager for a firm called Nekuda Design Management . It is one of the most veteran design firms in Israel, and it’s based in Tel Aviv by the beach. And so yeah, so I am a project manager there, which means I’m the head of a few projects.

How does your work link to the immersive industry?

Well, actually, my day job isn’t so much related to XR, apart from it being in the leading firm for HMD design in Israel, but my link to the XR industry is from my work in school. I’m a fourth year industrial design student. And my graduation project is a flying experience in XR.

Does one person fly a drone, the other person absorb the experience?

The whole idea is that the person experiencing the flight is the same person in control. Being in control is what differentiates this from seeing drone footage on YouTube. Let’s say you can see amazing footage, but you don’t feel like you’re flying even if it was 360 video, which I don’t think currently exists of drone footage, when you’re in control and you can go or basically fly wherever you want, That’s the X Factor in that experience.

The cost barriers for virtual reality drone racing is significant. How can people go over the barrier?

So you’re actually touching on all the points that are important in this project. We talked about intuitive control and we talked about basically doing it for as many people as possible and not just for the most tech savvy or wealthiest people. So another point is the limitations. The first big point of friction is having to buy something so expensive. A lot of people are not experiencing flying and XR in general because of those costs and not only money, but also social barriers. Like, for example, 97 percent of drone owners in the UK  are men. That’s crazy.

Where do you see yourself in a few years’ time?

Hmm, that’s a difficult question, especially nowadays.  I’m striving to take a meaningful role in creating these enabling projects, and definitely driving forward the XR space. I’m not sure which opportunities will come my way. But I really believe that XR is the future,especially AR and I would love to be part of it.