While there’s an argument to be made that zoos do a lot for conservation and education, visiting on can be a depressing experience for anyone who believes animals shouldn’t be cooped up in enclosures.
Well, China may have stumbled across a brilliant alternative: a virtual reality zoo, where people can see and hear virtual representations of animals through the magic of VR.
It may be just the thing to pull VR headsets like the Oculus Rift, Samsung’s Gear and Valve’s Vive technologies towards the mainstream, and make animal-lovers everywhere feel a little happier.
Mashable says Landmark Entertainment Group, the company behind Universal Studios’ Jurassic Park: The Ride and The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman 5D “immersive interactive experiences” is being tapped to build the Landmark Interactive Virtual Experience Centre somewhere in China. The location has not been finalised, however; the three sites being considered are within the cities of Xi’an, Chengdu and Wuhan.
Once complete, visitors will get to walk through several virtual attractions: a zoo, an aquarium, a museum and an art exhibit that will provide them with over four hours of viewable VR content, created in either the Unreal or Unity game engines.
Landmark also has plans to port the experience into a format for home users once it’s done. The LIVE Centre is expected to be complete and open by the summer of 2017.
The project is apparently backed by private investors and the Chinese government, and will cost in the region of R2.4 billion to complete.[Source & Images – Mashable]