We went on a Spacewalk in VR with the Help of a Vibrating Chair

Rewind reveals how it created a spacewalk experience in virtual reality for the BBC, which involved making you feel like you're floating in space by hacking a haptic chair.

Virtual Reality allow you to experience environments and situations never possible before, like taking a tour of the Large Hardon Collider or – in the case of Rewind’s latest experience in conjunction with the BBC –  perform a spacewalk on the International Space Station.

I travelled to Rewind in St. Albans to try out the 15-minute long experience, which puts users into the suit of an astronaut 250 miles above Earth on the International Space Station, tasked with performing a spacewalk to check damage to an external part of the station. With awe-inspiring views of the Earth complete with thunderstorms and the Northern Lights, you really feel like you are floating weightlessly above the Earth – a simulation made more realistic with the use of a rumble chair.

It’s very hard to simulate anti-gravity in VR, so making the user take a seat and only use their arms, as they would in space, provides users with something that is fairly close to real life, and is similar to the training simulations used by astronauts like Tim Peake to prepare for any eventuality in space.

Following trying the experience, I sat down with Rewind director and co-founder Matthew (below) Allen to talk a little bit more about the spacewalk project – which is titled Home and about creating engaging content for VR users.

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