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Educational VR Experiences from CuriosityStream

    One of the great potentials of VR is its use as an educational tool. However, finding good educational VR experiences can be a bit of a hunt. Most of them exist as individual apps that need to be downloaded. There’s also the issue of determining the credibility of the producers of these apps.

    One unique streaming service called CuriosityStream poses one solution.

    What Is CuriosityStream?

    CuriosityStream is a streaming service dedicated to documentaries. The service, recently launched by the founder of the Discovery Channel, is home to over two thousand documentaries and series. Some of these are produced by CuriosityStream but most are by other individuals and organizations.
    The service costs US$3/month or $20/year. That’s cheaper than other streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. It also works on most mobile devices, computers, smart TVs, Digital Media Players and on Xbox One.

    A streaming service composed of just documentaries has enough educational potential. However, CuriosityStream also has a small but growing collection of VR content.

    How Their VR Experiences Work

    There’s a special corner of CuriosityStream dedicated to their VR experiences. Some of these are available through the platforms but others must be downloaded through Steam and Viveport. These include both 360-Videos and more interactive VR content.

    It Enhances The Gaming Experience. It is difficult to talk about virtual reality without discussing the use of video game technology in it. The gaming world has fully embraced virtual reality and all of its elements. There are now some games that are designed specifically for virtual reality. In some of these cases, gaming companies would produce special props that gamers can use along with their virtual reality headset. For some gamers, virtual reality has enhanced their love of playing.

    The full-scale VR content requires a dedicated headset. The 360-videos, however, only require desktop or smartphone with or without an adapter.

    CuriosityStream has a number of VR experiences that let users visit Pluto, dive into volcanoes, and more. Their most recent and currently promoted experiences, however, are on the popular topic of Ancient Egypt.

    360-Videos

    Two of the experiences are 360-videos. They’re free to view on the CuriosityStream page linked above and on their YouTube page. Tombs and Monuments of Ancient Egypt is more of an ad for CuriosityStream than a video in its own right. It lasts less than 90 seconds and it jumps around too much to give you much looking around time.
    Nefertari’s Tomb is a bit longer and is more like a guided tour. You’re more free to look around while a narrator talks about Nefertari and the importance of her tomb.

    The bonus to the videos is that they are free and they can be experienced on a desktop.

    VR Content

    The real attraction of the day is the full VR experience, Nefertari: Journey to Eternity. This is a full-scale app that requires a dedicated headset and a download. However, the download is free and allows access without internet.

    The visuals were created with high-resolution scanning and photography. The Oculus page for the experience says that the resolution might be so high that users may have to turn down the image quality for it to work right. Of course, that will depend on what computer your headset is hooked up to. And, no, it doesn’t work with the stand-alone headsets from Oculus .

    To your great surprise, the concept of Head Mounted Display is also not a new idea. The first head-mounted display was developed around 1960’s. the Telesphere mask was the first example of a head-mounted display, which provided 3D stereoscopic and wide vision with sound.

    This has only been a look at some of the educational VR experiences from CuriosityStream. If you’re looking for ways to work VR into a curriculum, or if you’re just a curious person, be sure to check out their other content.

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