In the eyes of an animal: experiencing VR like never before (and looking stupid in the process)


Oh how ridiculous do I look with this giant piece of foliage on my head?

Talking of animals (see post here about Buster the Boxer of John Lewis fame), on Wednesday night I experienced what it must be like to be one of four different animals: a mosquito, dragon fly, frog and and an owl.

It was one of many cool exhibits at the Wired Audi Awards at Victoria House in London’s Bloomsbury Square. So cool in fact that it actually won best Innovation in Experience Design at the awards.

Now of course I’ve put a headset on and experienced VR in the past, but trust me this isn’t like any other VR I’ve ever experienced.

Developed by Marshmallow Laser Feast for a festival in Cumbria’s Grizedale Forest (they must be cool, check out their website), it’s like being on a bad trip or something out of a Cronenberg movie.

Called In The Eyes of an Animal and filmed in 360 degrees using drones of course, the footage takes you on a journey from – what the developer’s imagine, based on scientific understanding – each animal’s point of view.

To make things a tad more realistic than watching the YouTube video below you have to wear a large rounded piece of foliage on your head and strap a backpack to you in order to simulate, say, the buzzing of a dragon fly as it flies around the forest.

At the end of each ‘chapter’ the animal is eaten (think ‘there was an old lady who swallowed a fly’) and it’s on to the next animal until you end up with one of nature’s finest predators, the owl.

I really have no idea how realistic it is but it looks and feels amazing and if I’d watched it in a field in Grizedale Forest during a festival I’d probably think I’d just eaten some rather exotic looking mushrooms.

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