Rewind VR experience takes HTC Vive users to space
The 15-minute immersive virtual reality experience ‘Home – A VR Spacewalk’’ was created in Unreal Engine 4.
The cinematic, interactive VRX project (Virtual Reality Experience) was inspired by NASA and ESA’s training programmes and reflects the experiences of real astronauts. It forms part of BBC Learning’s ongoing mission to fire the imaginations of the next generation of scientists and explorers and the BBC’s initial explorations into the emerging medium.
The immersive nature of ‘Home: A VR Spacewalk’ means that users will really get to feel what it’s like to be an astronaut floating 250 miles above earth with stunning and vast views of the spaceship, the space station and the universe. Aspiring Tim Peake’s will even be able to monitor their heart rate as they are plunged into an emergency scenario as they jet-pack home to the International Space Station.
Home can be experienced using a haptic feedback chair, adding to the sense of immersion as vibrations simulate impacts of the spacewalk to the body. There is also a full body biometric system which allows the user to hear and monitor their own heartbeat during the mission. Faced with the endless blackness of space and earth a blue-green jewel below, you take on your mission, throw yourself into the challenges of this alien environment and contend with an emergency scenario as you jet pack home to the International Space Station.
Sol Rogers, CEO and founder of Rewind:VR, said: “Some of the most advanced visual effects currently available in VR, accompanied with spatial audio have been used to create an incredibly visceral piece of content.”
Tom Burton, BBC creative director and producer, said: “Only a very small number of mankind has ever walked in space, but what Home – A VR Spacewalk attempts to do is bring together VR, storytelling and some of the latest thinking in pushing levels of immersion to give people their moment in space. It’s early days for immersive technologies and there is still much to learn about the editorial and technical challenges in VR, but the BBC is exploring what is possible with and understand its potential for audiences in the future.”
‘Home: A VR Spacewalk’ premiered at the Sheffield International Documentary Festival on 10th June and will available via BBC Taster in the coming months.