Fancy a visit to the woods, to get in touch with nature by glimpsing life through the eyes of an animal? Well if you want to do so without tripping on peyote, you may want to book a trip to Wales in the UK — where a new VR experience called “In the Eyes of the Animal” is currently playing.
Taking place through August 4, the Cardiff-based event is using modified Oculus headsets, an immersive soundtrack, and haptic feedback backpacks to present a 360 degree view of the forest from the perspective of a mosquito, dragonfly, frog, and owl. During the experience, which lasts around ten minutes, visitors wear one of four headsets, plus a backpack which vibrates to simulate different sensations — such as the feeling of wings beating on your back during the dragonfly section.
“We think this is a great project, not just to get people to engage with virtual reality — but also with the outdoors,” Karine Décorne, the artistic director of Migrations, one of the organizations behind the event, tells Digital Trends. “It’s about showing people a side of the woodland that they’d never normally be able to see with the naked eye.”
The experience was created by a group with the superb name Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF), which specializes in augmented reality experiences. Last year the group took part in another collaboration with Cardiff City Council –Migrations and RSPC Cymru– to create an enormous spider web display which attracted over 10,000 visitors. This year, the number of people expected to experience the event is slightly smaller (due to the technical limitations) but still impressively large.
“We’re expecting between 4-5,000 people during the time this exhibition is running,” Décorne continues. “We’re open for seven days, between eight o’clock in the morning and seven o’clock in the evening. The experience lasts for about ten minutes and we’ve got several headsets.”
Best of all? The whole event is free, and all you need to do is show up. Let’s hope that similar displays become more widespread in future.
(Although we wouldn’t complain if the nature-inspired headsets were made marginally less creepy!)