Explore the sights of Tokyo while in an 8K virtual reality ride in Texas

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Panora VR

Touring the world can be expensive and tiresome — until you add virtual reality. At the South by Southwest 2017 (SXSW) festival, Japanese media and entertainment companies NHK Enterprises and NHK Media Technology will allow people to view the sights and sounds of Tokyo in a virtual reality motion ride with 8K quality visuals.

Instead of strapping on a bulky headset to fly over Tokyo in virtual reality, the 8K VR motion ride will project the sights of Tokyo on a large screen. The ride is five minutes and features two hydraulic seats positioned in the center of the screen that simulate motion. The experience features views of famous landmarks such as Tokyo Tower, Shibuya Crossing, and Sensoji Temple.

To immerse people in virtual reality without any headsets, the ride’s employs the Wonder Vision’s Sphere 5.2 immersive screen. The screen is 17 by 11.1 feet with a resolution of 7680 x 4320 pixels that is four times as clear as Ultra HD 4K and will come from an 8K projector. This could be one of the few times you will be able to see video this clear until 8K TVs go from being budget breakers to affordable devices.

The ride could be a glimpse into how Japan’s 2020 Olympic games will look. The companies behind the 8K VR motion ride at SXSW are affiliates of NHK, which has been working with Panasonic and Sony to develop 8K TVs before the 2020 Olympics. NHK also unveiled the world’s first 8K channel in summer 2016.

As companies attempt to unlock the social potential of virtual reality, initiatives similar to the 8K VR motion ride have tried to imagine a VR future without headsets. Last year’s Panorama Music Festival featured an animated film projected on a 70-foot screen that enclosed concertgoers.

SXSW takes place in Austin, Texas and begins on Friday. To catch the 8K VR motion ride, you will need to be at exhibit hall 3 in the Austin Convention Center between Sunday and Wednesday.