Experience free-fall flight with Birdly and HTC Vive

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Birdly

After getting over my disappointment about having to bloody well exercise, I went back to the HTC booth and asked for another shot at something. While the VR war scene was unavailable, I did try something else that wholly made up for it. Developed by Somniacs, Birdly, an HTC Vive powered flying simulator lets you take flights over a pretty damned impressive virtual Manhattan.

Birdly2

It works by having you strap on to a machine with articulating wings. It’s a full body simulator; so you lie horizontally, controlling your descent with your flappable wings. Tilt down, and you’ll head towards free-fall, while pulling up lets you ascend. Flapping – and yes, looking like an absolute dork – helps you speed up.

There’s a fan positioned in front of you, helping create the illusion, and the immersion of free flight over a city. It’s pretty convincing too, both meditative and exhilarating. It’s a weird and wonderful experience – but just like the Holodia, it doesn’t come cheap. There’s no word on just how “not cheap” it is, but we suspect the answer to that question is “very”.

I’ve always wanted to fly, and this is probably as close to realising that dream as I’ll get. Really it’s the sort of stuff that’s great for tech demoes, and perhaps entertainment venues, but I’m really struggling to come up with a good, practical reason for this to exist. It’s is pretty damned amazing though.

 

Last Updated: June 2, 2016

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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