Showing posts with label Virtual Reality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Virtual Reality. Show all posts

Climb Everest in Virtual Reality on the Oculus Rift

Let's face it, most of us are never going to be able to climb Everest. Not only is it extremely difficult, requiring years of experience and training, it also happens to be prohibitively expensive too. But, thanks to the miracles of modern technology, we can now all catch a glimpse of what it is like to stand on the highest point on the planet.

A company called Sólfar Studios, working in conjunction with another firm called RVX, have created a virtual reality experience that allows owners of the Oculus Rift VR headset to climb to the summit of Everest. The software offers Oculus owners a chance to take in the views from the mountain, without actually having to travel to the Himalaya or acclimatize for three weeks before starting up.

The new Everest VR experience is actually an updated version of one that Sólfar created for the HTC Vive headset last year. But, Oculus users get a couple of additional features, including the ability to climb up the Lhotse Face and a new "god" mode that takes them above the Himalaya themselves for a bird's eye view of the tallest mountains on Earth.

I don't own either of these VR headsets so I can't comment on what this virtual climb of Everest is like, but having used the Oculus Rift in the past, I can tell you that it provides a very compelling and realistic experience. We do get a glimpse of the technology at work here in the video below however, which is no substitute for actual VR, but it does serve as a preview of what to expect. This is especially true if your browser supports 360º video, allowing you to pan around in all directions. Check it out to catch a glimpse of this tech in action.

New Virtual Reality Experience Will Recreate First Ascent of Everest

Do you ever wonder what it was like to climb those final few steps up to the summit of Mt. Everest with Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay when they made the first ascent of the mountain back in 1953? If so, then you may soon get the chance to witness that historical moment for yourself thanks to a new virtual reality project from a company called CGO Studios that is slated for release later this year.

The creative team at CGO specializes in making VR experiences that center around historical events. In the past, they've done projects that centered around the Wright Brothers' first flight and they are currently putting the finishing touches on a digital visit to Anne Frank's attic. But, the team is also knee deep in a project called "Everest '53" that will take viewers high up the Himalayan peak, where they will join Hillary and Norgay as they approach the summit.

According to CGO, the team is creating its Everest project for use with the Oculus Rift VR goggles and its Touch controller. The virtual reality experience will immerse viewers in a 360º environment, and will equip them with historically accurate tools and gear to get them to the summit. The virtual environment will also replicate weather conditions on Everest on May 29, 1953 when Hillary and Norgay went to the summit for the first time, making the experience has real as possible. Both Peter Hillary and Jamling Tenzing Norgay – the sons of the two famous climbers – are assisting with the project, helping to deliver more realism.

The description for "Everest '53" says that viewers will join Hillary and Norgay in the "final moments" of their ascent, but just where it will start is hard to say. Will it begin at the Hillary Step or closer to the top? Is it mostly going to just center around the view from the summit, or something else? We'll have to wait to see for sure, but it is an intriguing premise to say the least.

I've had the chance to test a few VR experiences and can say that they are a lot of fun and offer some interesting tools to do unique things. For the most part, they'll never replace actually going outside to take part in real-world activities, but I do think the technology holds a lot of promise for delivering very compelling content like this. Hopefully I'll get a chance to check it out for myself at some point.

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Video: Mammut's #Project360 Goes to the Summit of Mt. Everest

We've covered Mammut's #Project360 a couple of times in the past. That's the outdoor gear manufacturer's attempt to bring some of the world's most iconic peaks to the Internet using a high tech camera system that captures images in 360º fashion. After the very successful climbing season in Nepal this spring, #Project360 can now add Mt. Everest to the list. Lakpa Sherpa and Pemba Rinji Sherpa, along with support from Kusang Sherpa and Ang Kaji Sherpa, managed to take Mammut's cameras to the top of the mountain, capturing the entire South Side route in the process. The video below gives us a glimpse of their adventure and the challenges that were overcome to capture the footage, which is already online at the #Project360 website.

Go on an African Safari with Google Street View

Google Street View continues to expand its coverage of remote parts of the world. After taking us to places like Machu Picchu, the Khumbu Valley in Nepal, and the summit of Mont Blanc, the online exploration tool is now taking us to South Africa on a virtual safari.

The Google Street View Mzansi Experience takes us into the wilds of South Africa, where you can spot elephants, leopards, rhinos, and other creatures. It also gives us a look at the landscapes where those creatures live, and while it is no substitute for a real safari, it does make for a nice escape when you're stuck at the keyboard for an extended period of time.

The high-tech tour of South Africa doesn't end in the backcountry either. Google also takes us to the legendary Cape of Good Hope, the Golden Mile in Durban, and the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, amongst other iconic and beautiful places across the country.

It's hard not to be impressed with Google Street View's growing library of amazing destinations. What started out as technology designed to enhance Google Maps, has grown into its own stand alone product that is fantastic in its own right. Visiting these places virtually will never be as great as actually going there in person, but it is a fun way to explore parts of the world that might not b as accessible otherwise. Why not go on a little virtual adventure of your own today. Visit the Google Street View website by clicking here.

Video Game Company CryTek Creating Virtual Reality Climbing Game

Many tech experts believe that the next big boom in the industry will come in the way of virtual reality. 2016 is shaping up to be a big year for VR with the release of the Oculus Rift and Sony's Playstation VR headsets. This hardware, coupled with some state of the art videos, movies, and games, promises to revolutionize the way we experience entertainment and virtual environments. Now, a major video game company has announced that it is preparing to release a new game alongside the Oculus Rift this spring that will give players a lifelike climbing experience unlike anything they've ever seen before.

CryTek is probably best known for its Far Cry and Crysis series of action games. Both use a sophisticated 3D game engine called the CryEngine to render their virtual environments. But the company has taken that same technology and applied it to virtual reality, and is currently putting the final touches on a game called The Climb, which will drop players into "hyper-realistic climbing locations from around the world" which they'll be able to explore completely on their own.

Beyond that, not a whole lot is known about the game, although you can get a brief teaser of what to expect in the video below. It takes us to what appears to be a region of China, where you can attempt to climb some of the Karst Towers that are so famous from that country.

Obviously a VR experience will never replace going out and actually climbing yourself. But, this does look fun and interesting none the less. Not all of us get the chance to visit some of the remote locations that the game will depict, and even if we did, we probably wouldn't have the skill set necessary to climb there. Through this game, and a VR headset, we might get at least an idea of what that is like. I know I for one, would love to at least give it a try.

Take a look at the video, and tell me what you think.

Adventure Tech: The North Face Uses Virtual Reality to Take Us to Nepal

Way back in January of this year, I told you about a project that The North Face had been working on to use virtual reality technology to provide an immersive outdoor experience to customers visiting the company's retail stores. The initial VR videos took viewers to Yosemite National Park and Moab, Utah where they could explore the landscapes there using high tech VR headsets and incredible 3D movies. Now, that program is expanding further, this time taking us into the Himalaya in Nepal.

The new VR film is entitled "The North Face: Nepal" and it was made in conjunction with Jaunt Studios. It is a 3D film that offers 360º views of the mountain landscapes found in that country in high definition, but with the ability to look in any direction at any given time. The video was shot in Nepal last February, in the heart of winter, providing a look at the Himalaya at a time of the year that few people ever get to experience. It was then that TNF athlete Renan Ozturk traveled to the mountains to test the new Summit Series of gear, and he helped capture the VR footage.

The film reportedly takes us from the city into the foothills of the Himalaya, before proceeding up into the mountains themselves. The journey begins in the famed Monkey Temple in Kathmandu, passes through the Thamel shopping district, before proceeding out to the Khumbu Valley, passing through villages along the way. Eventually it takes us to the top of Lobuche Peak as well.

As with the previous VR videos, this one will be available in The North Face retail outlets. But, you don't have to visit those stores to get an idea of what this virtual reality experience is all about. The video is also available for free from the Google Play and iOS App store through the Jaunt app. Don't own a pair of VR goggles to watch it through? Than just pick up the latest issue of Outside magazine, as it comes with a Google Cardboard headset that will help approximate the full experience.

This story, coupled with the one earlier in the week about a virtual reality version of Everest coming in 2016, heralds the advent of a new era in VR technology. The promise of virtual reality has been out there for decades, but it seems like we finally have the proper tech to make it truly happen. While these experiences will never replace the actually feeling of going outside and visiting these places for ourselves, it is still exciting to see it all come together.

I haven't had the chance to try out one of these VR films yet, but I think I may have to make a point of dropping by my North Face store very soon. Find out more about the "Nepal Experience" in this article from Outside Online.