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BBC launches VR hub with ISS spacewalk experience

THE BBC has announced the launch of its new VR hub with a virtual experience of spacewalking.

Auntie Been is kicking off its commitment to VR with “Home – A VR Spacewalk” for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, giving users the chance to try a spacewalk 250 miles about the Earth’s surface.

The experience is designed to give a similar experience to that used by UK Astronaut Tim Peake when he was training for his time on the International Space Station (ISS).

He commented: “Exploring space is something that motivates a lot of young people to enter careers in science and technology. This is a really exciting time because the new generation will have unprecedented opportunities to really fly into space.

“The Home Virtual Reality experience brings that opportunity even closer, in a very authentic and accessible way. I hope that having this chance to engage in such a realistic spacewalk experience will help inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and explorers.”

Zillah Watson, head of content commissioning for the BBC’s recently launched VR Hub, added: “Home is an extraordinary piece of content that enables viewers to get as close an experience as possible to what it must really be like to visit space. In the future, we’ll be looking to use the lessons we’ve learned in making fantastic pieces of content like this to develop even more impressive, immersive and inspiring experiences for audiences.”

Home has already won a Cannes Lion and been shown at film festivals around the world, but this is its first outing for the public. It’s available from the Oculus Store and the Steam Store.

Talking about the launch of the new hub, Watson added: “We want to excite audiences by creating the most enthralling experiences imaginable using the power of VR. So with every commission, we will target a specific set of audience needs and occasions, ensuring that each piece is compelling enough to make people want to put on a headset.

“We believe the BBC can bring a unique perspective to VR. We have an unparalleled position in the lives of the UK population.”

In keeping with the BBC’s universal service offering, VR content is not limited to the Vive and Oculus. There are also projects for Samsung Galaxy Gear, Google Cardboard and Google Daydream. Not everything will be on every platform, but until and unless one system turns out to be the winner, Auntie will keep experimenting with them all.

After all – when TV started in 1936, it broadcast on two different systems while it waited to see which tech would triumph. µ

Source : Inquirer

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