Story of the week: Safari from your sofa

Do you know Sir David Attenborough? Perhaps not the name, but if you ever watched a BBC-produced nature documentary, chances are you know his voice. Let this fragment be a reminder.

Now, what is this knight’s connection to HCI? Well, he is involved in a new documentary, not for the big screens, but for small ones. This nature documentary, Conquest of the Skies, is to be watched with the Oculus Rift according to this article.

Yes, the Oculus Rift has other applications apart from gaming. We think documentaries are a very exciting one. The possibilities are endless: from flying with birds to swimming with fishes and walking with elephants. Of course you won’t be able to move yourself, as there is no 3D scene to move in, but only 2D images made by a moving camera. However, by filming the whole panorama (using 8 cameras mounted to a rig), the user will be able to turn and tilt his head to look around thanks to the motion sensors in the updated Oculus Rift.

I have another idea for an interesting viewing experience: make a rig that films from two different locations that are further apart than the distance between ones eyes. Use it to film from the sky (this will no doubt be an engineering challenge). This way the user feels as if he was a giant. xkcd explained this really well in the comic Depth Perception. 🙂



  1. Documentaries is indeed a great use for virtual reality glasses. But alas, the OculusRift is not yet capable for supporting 1080p resolution what’s a real pity (I’ve seen it with my own eyes “P ) and makes all applications that are made for the Oculus Rift a little bit less believable.

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