Innovation That Matters

Virtual tsunami simulator could help civilians prepare for the worst


Aichi University of Technology has created three VR tsunami simulator videos, which could help people prepare for a natural disaster.

The applications for virtual reality continue to grow — we have recently seen one VR game used to help recovering addicts and another that teaches peacekeeping skills. Now, the Aichi University of Technology has created a VR tsunami simulator, which can be experienced with Oculus Rift, Gear VR or Google Cardboard to help people prepare for natural disasters.

The three immersive videos — excerpts of which are on YouTube — were created by a team led by Dr. Tomoko Itamiya. They depict the effects of a tsunami similar to the one suffered by the country in 2011, in order that civilians can prepare themselves mentally for a natural disaster. Each video is in first person and guides the viewer through various stressful situations.

In one, the viewer is a driver, stuck in their car surrounded by water and floating vehicles. In another, the viewer is in a virtual flood, with water up to their knees and rising rapidly. All three videos use YouTube’s 360 degrees capability as well as sound effects to enhance the intensity of the situation. The hope is that by enabling viewers to experience the disaster in such an immersive way, they will be less prone to panic in the event of a real disaster.

What other difficult experiences could be simulated using virtual reality?



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