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Blinding you with science: Viveport apps for science buffs
This editorial is written by Felicia Miranda, a freelance technology journalist. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaVagabond. We hope this editorial helps you find the best VR content available!
With virtual reality, there’s more to science than boring textbooks, Bunsen burners, and chemistry exams. With a Vive you can be transported to the depths of space and the bottom of the Earth’s oceans, all without leaving your home. The best part? VR makes learning fun.
With that in mind, feed your curiosity with these fun and jaw-dropping science apps, available now on Viveport.
Developer: Steel Wool Studios
Most of us will never walk on the low-gravity surface of Mars, or witness the breathtaking views of Earth from outer space. But with virtual reality at our fingertips, we can immerse ourselves within a space simulation that’s close to the real thing.
Mars Odyssey takes you to the quiet darkness of space and lets you experience what it’s like to be an astronaut on a mission to the red planet. I geeked out walking around the dusty surface to repair a rover, and experienced anxiety with an approaching sandstorm as I fled to safety. From there, I felt the relaxing tranquility of watching the sunrise from the beautiful, flat landscape. Frankly, you may never want to come back to Earth after experiencing Mars Odyssey.
Developer: The Body VR
As a kid, I loved studying how different parts of the body work together. Of course during my younger years, virtual reality wasn’t an option, and I had to rely on shows like the Magic School Bus and Bill Nye the Science Guy to teach me things in a fun, interactive way. Still, I wondered what it would feel like to shrink into a microscopic organism and swim through the human body to see all these amazing things for myself.
With The Body VR, you can do just that! Thanks to Vive, I embarked on an eye-opening journey into the blood vessels of the human body, but this is more than a rollercoaster through inner space. During my travels, I listened to a simple yet compelling breakdown of how the cells work. I was blown away with how real the distant beat of a heart sounded as cells thrust past me with each pulse. I witnessed a viral takeover of a cell, and desperately deployed antibodies to keep the virus from taking hold. Overall, The Body VR is a great learning experience for both children and adults who have an interest in biology and understanding how things work.
InMind 2 VR is a great addition to your Viveport collection. This app deals with the complexity of human emotion and how a simple chemical change to the brain can affect the outcome of a person’s life. Largely inspired by Inside Out and Lovheim’s Cube of Emotion, you’ll follow a kid named John and use the power of brain chemistry to impact how he reacts to pivotal moments that affect his future.
With InMind 2, you can take a virtual trip through the different parts of the human brain and learn about the role these pieces play in a person’s emotional and physical state. This was startling to witness first-hand, how altering slight adjustments to the levels of serotonin and dopamine can trigger different moods. I was amazed with how these seemingly small changes to John’s brain chemistry resulted in radical changes to his life. As these moments unfolded, there were times where I was met with great feelings of regret or relief. Not only did I learn a thing or two about the brain, but it showed me the importance of good mental health and decision making that is valuable to teens and adults alike.
Developer: Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University
This is a Viveport app that is sure to grab the attention of the more environmentally conscious Vive user, and it might make you think twice about the impact of your carbon footprint. Brought to us by Stanford researchers who are concerned with the decline of the coral reef and the marine life in our ocean waters, The Stanford Ocean Acidification Experience uses virtual reality to demonstrate how CO2 emissions affect the health of our oceans.
During my time with this app, I learned how the ocean acidification process works. I dove deep below the ocean’s surface and saw the startling and depressing future of Earth’s coral reefs. What was once bright and beautiful is dull, gray, and lacks sea life. It was enough for me to start researching what I could do to help the situation. While not the most upbeat of Viveport experiences, it’s an important and educational one that is worth sharing with kids, family, and friends.
Available on Viveport and in Viveport Subscription
A familiar ‘first VR experience’ for many, theBlu is a Viveport app that’s an absolute must for those who want to explore the mysteries of the deep sea. Similar to the Earth’s surface, the ocean has a vast array of wildlife and habitats that are distinct from one another. TheBlu allows you explore and appreciate three of those dazzling environments, which include a startling whale encounter, the beauty of reef migration and the eerie darkness of the luminous abyss.
Listening to a majestic 80-foot-long blue whale as it swam by in VR is something I’ll never forget, but the most thrilling experience in theBlu took me to the dark ocean depths. Down there, I stood in awe as the world around me slowly illuminated with an electric blue glow, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that something much bigger than me hid in the darkness.
You’re sure to learn to love and respect the immensity of the ocean with theBlu. I simply can’t recommend it enough.