In case you were wondering whether or not Facebook's $2 billion acquisition of virtual reality headset-maker Oculus Rift was worth it, allow this new project from Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK), IAD Interaction Design, and SVS/Birdlife Schweiz to settle your mind once and for all:
Designed by ZHdK students, Max Rheiner, Fabian Troxler, Thomas Tobler, and Thomas Erdin, Birdly is the augmented-reality flight-simulating installation we've been waiting since Da Vinci drew up the schematics for his Icarusian gliders. Combining custom landscape-traversing software with a padded wooden wing-board, Birdly takes travelers soaring over windswept vistas, creating as realistic an experience as it gets to actually being a Milvus milvus, the scientific name for the red kite. Below, Birdly in action:
Says its creators, "To evoke this embodiment we mainly rely on the sensory-motor coupling. The participant can control the simulator with his hands and arms, which directly correlates to the wings and the primary feathers of the bird. Those inputs are reflected in the flight model of the bird and displayed physically by the simulator through nick, roll and heave movements.
Visualized through HMD (Oculus Rift) the participant is embedded in a virtual landscape where his body is the body of a Red Kite."
While there's no word yet on when Birdly will be brought to an arcade near you, it's exactly the kind of immersive new experience that has us impatiently awaiting the AR-VR revolution. h/t The Verge