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Into the Depths: A VR tour of Germany’s Last Industrial Coal Mine

Virtual reality (VR) and 360-degree tours of tourist locations, including museums and art galleries are becoming increasingly popular as a means to attract attention to these attractions, and allow people who might be otherwise unable to visit to view the exhibits. Another attraction look to use this technology is a little more unusual – a historic mining operation in Germany.

This experience is made possible through the Realities app, who has introduced new DLC which allows users to explore the depths of the last industrial coal mine in Germany by capturing the location using photogrammetry and volumetric VR.

The Realities software is available for free on Steam, compatible with HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality. The app has been available since 2016, offering virtual trips to interesting locations such as Death Valley, or the Cologne Cathedral.

The new Realities DLC, titled Glückauf! Centres around the Prosper Haniel, the last active coal mine in Germany. The mine is located on the Ruhr area in Germany, and is set to close all operations by the end of 2018.

The Glückauf! DLC aims to immortalises the complex network of tunnels, located 1200 feet underground, which has been captured in high detail using volumetric VR for a detailed and realistic recreation.

Capturing the data needed for the recreation was quite a difficult task for the Realities.io team, as conditions were hostile, and much of the equipment was actively dangerous in the mine environment.

“Glückauf! was definitely one of our most challenging production so far,” states Realities.io in an official release. “Starting with the fact that none of our equipment is usually allowed in the mine due to risk of triggering mining gas explosions – usually you even have to change your undies to pure cotton ones that don’t make sparks.”

For further news of new and upcoming VR content, keep checking back with VRFocus.