Short of strapping yourself to a hang glider or parachuting out of an aircraft, the experience of true flight is hard to come by.
This could shortly change with the combination of new consumer drone and virtual reality technologies. By controlling the drone through a VR headset, a user can gain a real bird’s eye view of the surrounding environment.
While it sounds like science fiction, the technology isn’t actually too far away – and could soon see mainstream availability.
One company, Parrot, has been working on consumer drone technology for some time. The latest iteration, the Bebop, has the ability to stream video to an Oculus Rift or similar headset. While users still control the device through the traditional smartphone app or remote control, the video is transmitted to the headset.
The Parrot drone is integrated with a high definition 1080p camera, and built-in flash memory for video capture. The technology still has a ways to go, however, before putting on a headset offers a viable flight experience.
“While it doesn’t quite feel like you’re flying in the clouds, the experience is pretty interesting. Moving your head around with Oculus controls the drone’s camera, but not its movement,” explained Emily Price, from Engadget.
Future advancements will likely see drones able to stay in the air longer, and transmit video from greater distances to headsets and remote controls.
The technologies are likely to continue evolving over the next few years, as both VR and the drones advance. It might not be long before simulation technologies and drones can be used to help the elderly see familiar areas, or even record high definition open home videos for real estate agents.
While security concerns certainly abound, the benefits and practical applications of the technologies are difficult to pass up.