Oculus Rift is making a lot of progress on their way to a consumer launch sometime in 2015 and one of the fascinating things about the developer program is seeing what people are able to do with head-mounted virtual reality sets. Take Birdly, for instance, a flight simulator that lets you fly around the sky like an eagle. Its made by a team of Swiss developers and was designed with one goal in mind – make a simulator that does what no other simulator has done before. Hit the jump to check out the video.
The team consists of colleagues Max Rheiner, Fabien Troxier, Thomas Yobler and Thomas Erdin. The Rift is strapped to your head and you yourself are strapped into this machine that oddly resembles one of those rodeo rides that are occasionally shown in movies. The machine is supported by gas cylinders which are pressurised by the software controlling it to give you the feeling of weightlessness and over a dozen pressure sensors and gyrometers allow the machine to calculate where your body should be going in the virtual world.
You control yourself using two mechanical wings strapped to your hands that also pivot to allow you to control direction. You can also lean your body in any direction to aid turning and you can pump the wings to gain altitude. The sensors on-board the machine use the strength of your flaps to control speed and in the future you’ll be able to control the tail feathers as well for some really fancy tricks mid-flight. A large fan controlled by PWM (pulse-width modulation) aids the experience by simulating windspeed.
At some point, the team will also have an olfactory feedback mechanism as well, stimulating your senses with different smells as you fly through the air.
Sadly, you can’t buy one of these just yet and it might only be used as a proof-of-concept. But damn, if I see a demo anywhere, I’ll be making a beeline straight to it.
Source: Hack a Day