The Body VR is a great example of how the Oculus Rift and Gear VR can be used to educate as well as entertain. Starting today, it’s also a great example of how the HTC Vive can do the same.
The developers previously released this VR biology lesson for free back at the launch of the Gear VR and, in turn, the Oculus Rift. Now an upgraded version is available on Valve and HTC’s Steam VR headset. You’ll still get the original experience in which you explore the human body, travelling through the bloodstream to learn about blood cells and looking at how organelles work. The piece is narrated as you go.
As you’d expect, the new version also adds support for the Vive’s position tracked wands and room scale user-tracking. You can now interact with scenes, using your controllers to reach out and pick up blood cells or play with diagrams that appear on your journey. You can even fire out cells from the controllers. These additions create a sandbox of sorts, with the added interaction designed to further the user’s engagement with learning.
“Prior to the updated Vive version the experience felt like a ride you had no control over,” developer Moshe Ben-Zacharia tells me. “Integrating the hand controllers opened up an entirely new layer of interactivity, being able to touch and examine each 3D model and interact with the environment, feels like you are one step closer to actually being there. The increased level of engagement multiplies the educational factor and leads to better retention of the educational content.”
The developers are also keeping the experience free “for now”.
“After making the updates to the Vive version, we sent a beta to various teachers, students, doctors, and gamers, and so far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” Ben-Zacharia tells me.
As you’d expect, an Oculus Touch version of The Body VR is also planned once the controllers have finally launched later this year.