A team at the Zurich University of the Arts has invented a machine which explores the experience of a bird in flight, using the Oculus Rift VR headset and a human flapping interaction platform. Following shortly after the news about the Oculus Rift being used in helping Norwegian Army tank drivers to navigate the battlefield here is another fascinating use of Facebook's newly acquired tech.
Using the Oculus Rift the machine, called Birdly, makes users feel like they are soaring through the skies like the Red Kite it's inspired by. The installation pairs the Oculus Rift with a flapping body platform which translates the user's movements to virtual wings. Equipment then simulates headwinds, depending on the player's energy spend, by blasting air at the user to give them the experience of flying like a bird, whilst a bird's eye view of the scenery (and audio) is provided by the Rift.
Not only that, the Birdly also evokes the player's sense of smell and environmental changes they would expect to experience while flying. As the player passes through different landscapes they are exposed to different scents matching the view below.
Here is a video of Birdly in action:
Although it does not look like the most comfortable experience and may cause users to feel nauseated and queasy, the intention for it is as an art installation and it's unlikely that we will see the installation being released to the mass public.
This latest imaginative VR adaptation shows the wide range of applications possible. Have you got any VR ideas of your own? Let us know in the comments below.