August 11, 2021

Exploration with virtual reality

Virtual reality is a powerful experience technology that immerses people in new worlds. With an array of VR headsets now readily available in the market of all kinds, these experiences are more accessible now than ever. Here are some VR experiences that you shouldn't miss out on.

National Geographic Explore VR

Ever wanted to travel to remote locations? With National Geographic Explore VR, you can explore the wonders of Antarctica and Machu Picchu. By simply putting on your VR headset, you can go on an expedition to Antarctica to mingle with penguins, kayak around the icebergs, and climb iceshelves. Descend on Machu Picchu and explore the ancient Inca citadel, meet the alpacas, and witness mummy worship. Traditionally, such experiences are only available to those who can afford the high costs of these unique travels. The beauty of virtual reality is that it makes these experiences more accessible, and with more VR headsets becoming affordable (the Oculus Quest 2 is priced at $300 and the Google Cardboard which turns your mobile device into a VR headset is $15) it means that everyone is able to enjoy travelling no matter where they are financially.

TheBlu: Season 1

TheBlu is a virtual reality series that allows you to explore the marvels of the ocean and deep underwater wildlife. There are three episodes in this series, with each titled according to the experience: Whale Encounter, Reef Migration, and Luminous Abyss. Each episode shows a new ocean habitat teeming with wildlife and lets you to get up close and personal with all the different species such as jellyfish, stingrays, whales, and other countless types of fish. The Whale Encounter episode is widely used as a demo for first-time VR users and was a 2016 Sundance New Frontier selection - a testament to the stunning visuals of this series and a must-experience for any ocean-lover.

Ecosphere

Do you love watching nature documentaries? Ecosphere offers a new take on documentary filmmaking with its short films. The series takes you on a new journey in each of its episodes and introduces you to a different ecosystem: the rainforests in Borneo, savannahs in Kenya, and coral reefs of Raja Ampat. A main difference between this series and others like TheBlu, is that Ecosphere is not interactive. That being said, unlike typical nature documentaries, it still takes immersion to a whole other level with its 3D and 180 degree view and with local conservation experts and narrations guiding you through the experience. With the high level of audience engagement, this type of filmmaking is set to be the new method for educational series.

Instacalm VR

Instacalm VR is a virtual reality experience that transports you to different locations for the purpose of relaxation. Created by 42 Interactive in partnership with a clinical psychologist, it is a guided meditation experience that takes you to places such as a lakehouse and a sky garden. You can walk around and interact with various elements of the scene, and narrations accompany the visual scenes to guide you through a meditative session that helps you let go of stress. The visuals and audio were designed using psychology principles to ensure that the experience would be effective at bringing relaxation.

Written by Amy Vuong

A UX/UI Designer at 42 Interactive focused on bringing meaningful projects to life through digital design.