Binary Festival 2016: An insight into the first ever Binary Festival

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor
The front of FACT.

Our insider’s take on the inaugural Binary Festival, where tech from 3D audio to virtual reality was the focus, and a rudimentary sex toy won the day.

Technology is big business. And when done best, it doesn’t feel like business at all. Welcome to Binary Festival 2016 – a fun-packed celebration of technology, bringing together the great and the good from the North-West and beyond for a gloriously-sunny two day May festival.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest draw of the day is virtual reality, with almost half the workshops and events involving some form of VR element. One eye-opening morning event explored how music is transformed by technology, pointing to the huge leaps forward prompted by technological advancements such as electronics and sampling, making the strong case for virtual reality as the next major sea-change. Indeed, this can already be seen with forward-thinking artists such as Squarepusher, Björk and even Liverpool’s own Paul McCartney, applying immersive VR experiences to their performances.

The most popular creation was a rudimentary sex toy controlled by wireless signals

It’s not all about digital make-believe, however, some of the most interesting events dig a little deeper. Today, this corner of the city is dotted with jam-packed showcases, ranging from courses that look at how how to make design more unique, to how local NHS organisations are working with technology to improve health services, and not to mention the wildly-popular event giving a detailed but accessible beginner’s guide to the basics of coding, ran by the much-loved Liverpool Girl Geeks.

With nods to the inescapable presence of virtual reality, there are classes on 3D audio, filming on iPhone and even 3D printing, while the more vocation-minded could find valuable tips at the in-depth courses about the dos and don’t of crowd-funding, while others discussed the unstoppable power of LinkedIn and how to build your YouTube presence for both individuals and business.

The emphasis is on fun, rather than worthy lecturing – this is an event people wanted to attend, as evidenced by the packed-out rooms. But as ever, when it comes to the progress of technology in our daily lives, we can expect one subject to soon follow. During the excellent interactive ‘Internet of Things VS Virtual Reality’ workshop, far and away the most popular creation was – you guessed it – a rudimentary sex toy controlled by wireless signals. Binary Festival 2016 might be over-run with the smartest brains in the technology business today, but some things never change.

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