An immersive flight simulator allows humans to experience the sights, sounds and feeling of flying like a bird. Elly Park reports.
STORY: From the ancient Greek legend of Icarus, to the Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci, flying like a bird has been a dream for mankind for generations. Not anymore -- thanks to this machine, an immersive full body simulator that recreates the sensation of flying. Called "Birdly", it's the brainchild of a design research team of Zurich Arts University, whose member Fabian Troxler demonstrates its use. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PROJECT TEAM MEMBER AND DESIGN STUDENT, FABIAN TROXLER, SAYING: "My arms are now my wings, so I control the whole platform with my arms, I can go down, and the whole platform moves down, I move them up, platform moves up, I can also turn, if I do it in the opposite directions...And to gain speed, I have to flap my wings." A virtual reality headset recreates the views and sounds experienced by birds, which is convincing, according to visitors of the Geneva Lift15 Conference where Birdly is being showcased. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ENGINEER, JOSE BADILLA, SAYING: "I don't know if you've ever feel it like this kind of dream that you have and you wake up (suddenly) an you're like, 'yes, shit, I was flying!' So I was, I was really like kind of having that part of the dream, like I was really flying! I really like it." (SOUNDBITE) (French) STUDENT AND APPLICATIONS DEVELOPER, JAMES MENETREY, SAYING: "Once you jump out of the building, you feel the wind, you feel you are totally moving with the machine, and you are really brought into this virtual world this simulation offers." The urban setting is with a purpose, to educate the public on the dangers faced by birds every day. While still in testing phase, the team sees different uses for Birdly in the future and hopes it flies in therapeutic settings as well as in the entertainment industry.