If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a dragonfly flitting through the forest canopy, this virtual reality installation by Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF) is your answer. Through the imaginations of MLF, the forest becomes a dancing stream of bright colors that twist by as you fly by. The virtual reality experience allows users to see the forest as an alien world – first through the eyes of a midge, then a dragonfly, then a frog and finally an owl.
The experience, called In the Eyes of the Animal, was part of the Abandon Normal Devices festival which took place in Grizedale Forest in England’s Lake District. It allowed visitors to effortlessly traverse the forest canopy, come face to face with woodland creatures and challenge their human perceptions of the woodland. “Using VR to immerse someone in the sights and sounds of animals creates empathy by simulating the way that others sense the world,” MLF’s co-founder Barney Steel told Wired.
The video was created using a combination of 360-degree drone filming, CT scanning and LIDAR technology. LIDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, was used to scan the forest creating precise, 3D information about the shape of the earth. CT was used to create highly detailed scans of insects and animals.
The project was possible only because advances in technology have made drone filming and advanced scanning techniques inexpensive and widely available.