Though flying is a necessity for many of us, it also comes with significant drawbacks, as you are crammed into an airlines seat for many hours. German airline Lufthansa is offering a way to escape the cramped confines of the cabin with an in-flight virtual reality (VR) prototype that lets passengers take a virtual tour of their destination while still aboard the aircraft.
The technology was created to allow passengers to take a 3D tour of scenery even as they fly over it, allowing for a kind of virtual ‘glass-bottomed aircraft’ that lets passengers explore the country they are heading to.
One of the first flights to trail the prototype is the flights bound for Dubai, where passengers could don a VR headset in order to view the landscape below as a 3D map, and select various places of interest, which were presented as 360-degree’ virtual excursions’.
The passengers aboard LH630 flight from Frankfurt to Dubai were the first to experience the VR prototype. As they flew over Vienna, passengers were able to attend a virtual classical concert such as the city is famous for, or ride the Prater Ferris Wheel.
The project was developed as a cooperative effort between Lufthansa and designed and development company 3spin and forms part of an effort to offer improved and enhanced customer experiences.
“Gazing out of the window, I have often thought to myself: Where are we and what is going on down there. Our idea is based on that thought,” said Thomas Hoger of 3spin.
As 3spin explains on its website, the experience is possible by using a smartphone app which accesses on-board flight data through WLAN. The plane’s positions is combined with 3D data, and using a Samsung Gear VR, users are then able to see a virtual rendition of the landscape beneath the plane.
For future coverage of new applications for VR technology, keep checking back with VRFocus.