For those who love the idea of skydiving atop vast canyon landscapes or among freewheeling tandem groups — but who simply can’t handle the heights — there may soon be another option.
Austin’s marketing and ad agency T3 is working with iFly, the Austin-based vertical wind tunnel company that offers indoor skydiving in about 20 cities, to bring virtual reality to the activity.
While it’s still in testing and not yet available for the masses, VR could potentially allow for those who use iFly to experience what it would be like to skydive without actually boarding a plane.
T3 released a video this morning showing expert skydivers trying out the technology using Samsung Oculus Gear VR headsets.
It wouldn’t be surprising; Six Flags is already offering VR on rollercoasters, just one of many industries trying to incorporate new virtual reality tech into existing forms of entertainment.
Ben Gaddis, chief innovation officer at T3, said the project came together quick over about six weeks from concept to completion. T3 has already been working on VR projects for several years and he said the company was excited to take on a new challenge.
“We haven’t seen a lot of examples of giving people a thrilling real-world experience and combining it with VR,” Gaddis said.
The Gear VR helmet works well with iFly’s gear, he said, and the T3 team was able to utilize existing 360-degree and VR-ready footage from skydiving, base jumping and wing suit jumps and stitch together and optimize the material to make it work with iFly.
Gaddis said there’s no immediate timeline for making VR indoor skydiving available but that T3 and iFly will be gauging public interest and determining whether customers are willing to pay extra for that kind of experience.
“In Austin, we’re probably going to make it available as a value-add much sooner than later,” he said.