Featured Image Credit: Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo via Twitter
By Lindsay Edgar
Have you ever wanted to know what it feels like to swim with a wild seal? Maybe even get up close and personal with an elephant bathing in a watering hole? Thanks to some amazing new Virtual Reality technology, now you can. The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo just started a new program that takes visitors right into the wild alongside the most endangered species on the planet.
So how does it work? While wearing the headsets, viewers are given a 360-degree encounter with the animals in their natural habitats. For added effect, a narrator will give quick facts about the animal and will also highlight the current threats to their survival. The ultimate goal is to leave zoo visitors with a virtual first-hand experience and the inspiration to protect the magnificent creatures they have just befriended.
General manager and curator of the zoo, Paul Hamilton, believes that the technology has a greater impact than thought possible. Most people live and work in urban environments. That loss of connection between us and nature means that we aren’t aware of a wide range of species facing extinction. By using the VR headsets, the zoo can raise awareness for conservation.
While it may seem like a fairytale, all the footage of wild animals isn’t made up. Film crews traveled to Uganda, South Africa, Mafia Island in Tanzania, the Maldives, Australia and Egypt to capture the film for the VR headsets. The 3D cameras were strategically placed where the animals could interact with them freely. Some of them definitely weren’t camera shy! This new virtual reality is “pawsitively” out of this world – we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.