Before the flood: Take a tour of a Noah’s Ark replica in virtual reality

God creates man. Man abandons God. Man creates an ark. God wipes the world clean with a torrential flood.

But Dutchman Johan Huibers doesn’t think the world was ever fully cleansed. “We’re living in the end of days,” he says, so he built a replica of the Noah’s biblical ship to save us from our transgressions — sort of. Now, three years after its completion, Johan’s Ark is available to experience in virtual reality through Bible VR, an app that lets users experience live-action renditions of biblical events.

Huibers’ pinewood ark is immense. Its hull it 95 feet wide and 75 feet tall, five decks high and longer than a football field, with a capacity for more than 5,000 people. It may not be big enough to carry Noah’s cargo but seems sufficient for the hundreds of thousands of fans who have visited it so far. Still, Huibers and the team behind Bible VR wanted to bring the ship to an even wider audience

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“We believe in sharing the Ark experience with people around the world,” Director and co-founder of FigTree VR Pearry Teo told Digital Trends, “especially for those who may never have the chance to visit the Ark in real life. Traditional videos and pictures give merely a peek at what an amazing experience it is to be in the ark, and VR helps us accomplish that.”

There are not a lot of options available for faith-based VR experiences but Teo thinks the medium is a great way to share biblical stories because it puts users the midst of an event they would otherwise only ever read about.

“VR opens up new doors to learning,” he said, “making it easier if the experience is enriching, enjoyable, and safe which fosters higher level of engagement and understanding. And because VR is unique for each experience, it helps improve retention and recall making it suitable for different learning styles. This is where we believe we can help keep faith, values, and tradition alive through virtual reality.”

Bible VR is available for free on Google Play and iTunes.

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