Could Recreating Historical Events In VR Change Travelling?
If you’re planning a holiday, then you know that you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to which country you want to visit. Most people will want their trip to be a cultural experience, whether it’s seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum or touching the fragments where the Berlin Wall once stood. If you’re a travel company, then VR is the next step in creating a truly memorable experience.
According to the Japan Times, computer club students from Fukuyama Technical High School have created a five-minute VR experience based on the bombing of Hiroshima. If you wore the headset, you would be able to hear the sounds and see the sights before, during and after the US dropped a nuclear bomb on the Japanese city on August 6th 1945.
It allows users to visit the Motoyasu River and look at the buildings before the explosion went off in Hiroshima. The students who worked on the project used old photographs and postcards in their research. In fact, they took it a step further by speaking to people who experienced the bombings and collecting feedback on their footage.
There’s no doubt that recreating any historical event must be as realistic and accurate as possible. It should come as no surprise that the club members used computer software to adjust the lighting and damage visible on the exterior of buildings.
Mei Okada, one of the students involved in the project, commented: “Even without language, once you see the images, you understand. That is definitely one of the merits of this VR experience.”
Yuhi Nakagawa, who also worked on the experience, added: “When I was recreating the building models from before and after the atomic bomb fell, I saw many photos of buildings that were gone. I really felt how scary atomic bombs can be. So, while recreating this scenery, I felt it was really important to share this with others.”
You might be wondering why the students put so much time and effort to re-create a specific moment like this? Well, the students and their teacher wanted people to experience it and remind them that an event like this should never happen again.
Katsushi Hasegawa, a computer teacher who supervises the club, commented: “Those who knew the city very well tell us it’s done very well. They say it’s very nostalgic.”
It is important to remember that these types of historical moments will come with ethical challenges. However, it might not be long before more VR experiences based on different events begin to emerge.
In fact, Silicon Republic reports that a Second World War bombing raid over Berlin has been reproduced in VR to mark the 100-year anniversary of the RAF. The project is called 1943: Berlin Blitz and has the user step into the shoes of BBC war correspondent Wynford Vaughan-Thomas and they relive an actual bombing raid.
There is no doubt that more companies will be taking notice of how VR is allowing people to have a surreal, unique experience by travelling to these moments throughout history.