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There has been a point in everyone’s life where they wish they could fly. This wish can now come true, to an extent, with an innovative simulator called Birdly. Max Rheiner is an artist and software developer from Switzerland who claims that the virtual reality simulator can stimulate the senses of the user. This gives rise to a feeling of one flying in the sky. He went on to say that people who wish to fly can do so with no training at all. The experience of flying is based on dreams that people have of experiencing as they fly.
Users must lie on their stomachs with the arms stretched out. Plus, the users put on VR goggles specially designed for this that contain within themselves authentic landscapes and skylines in the United States. Users are able to rise or descend as they tilt their bodies upwards or downwards. The system lets users experience salt air aroma as they fly over oceans, thanks to it creating smells that are pertinent to the landscapes the users are flying over. Moreover, it blows wind at a sufficient pressure which relies on the exact scenario one is faced with.
This began as a research project in the Zurich University of Arts as a group of students were led by Rheiner. They started to experiment using the VR system that was meant to offer an experience similar to that of a bird flying through a full motion simulator. The real challenge for the team was to get past the stage of making the motion control equipment from the start before changing it in a state where it could comprehend as well as match the user’s understanding of the flight of a bird. Rheiner and the team tested various prototypes prior to finalizing the Birdly machine.
Carrie Fitzsimmons is the executive director of Le Laboratoire Cambridge who experienced vertigo as she used the Birdly. She mentioned that the experience was quite immersive and quite unique compared to other flight simulators which normally require a joystick. According to her, this is a good way of fulfilling one’s dream of flying. Kip Fenton also tested the product as the technology toured the United States. He went on to state that this helps him fulfill his fantasy and he would be willing to pay big bucks for such an opportunity.
It remains to be seen if this technology will go big anytime soon and what price tag it will carry when it is out.