Virginia Tech Brings A Tornado Back To Life To Study Using VR

Whilst virtual reality (VR) is often used for games that is of course not always the case, as we’ve reported on several occasions in recent weeks. Today VRFocus reports on another scientific use for virtual reality that could go some way to help meteorologists understand and predict the effects of extreme weather.

Owing to their duration being usually quite short it is still very difficult to get accurate readings of tornados. However, through the use of radar data collected at the time researchers from Virginia Tech have produced a virtual reality model of the EF5 classed tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma on May 20th, 2013 killing two dozen people and causing almost two billion dollars in damages.

The visualisation, housed in a large theatre within the Virginia Tech campus called ‘The Cube’, shows the area’s landscape, areas of rainfall and the active funnel of the weather system as it develop and change in real-time. It is hoped that study of this data using an Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) will allow new developments and observations into how tornadoes are generated. Potentially leading to better warning systems and predictions about

It has been revealed that UK-based scientific publication New Scientist captured footage from the experience which shows users walking through the storm front and revealing the tornado’s funnel within.

VRFocus will continue to follow VR‘s use within the scientific field and will report back with any further developments.