This project was an escape from the winter. Inspired by various actual human powered airships and the 2004 Werner Herzog documentary The White Diamond and built for REM5’s ESC 3.0 event, I wanted a way to get around in VR that requires physical exertion. I acquired a recumbent exercise bike and went to work converting it into a game controller complete with pedal position tracking, tracked adjustable seat, custom built steering mechanism modeled after Guy Martin’s pedal powered airship and a few extra buttons and sliders. I then traced it in Gravity Sketch, added a balloon and imported into Unity.
I’ll walk you through the steps I took to realize human powered flight in VR. It’s a bit of hobby electronics, 3d printing, networking, scrappy 3d modeling as well as procedural, data-driven 3d modeling and basic physics simulation. It’s an experiment in combining hand tracking purely for embodiment, relying on physical controls for interaction with the scene.
You’ll be able to sit down, pilot the craft, look at your hands and legs, explore fake nature in HDRP and meet a strange and loving character up in the sky courtesy of Tim Skrivseth.
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