YouVisit, a New York firm, has found another interesting application of virtual reality technology. It managed to create a virtual tour of five colleges.
A YouVisit project started in 2009 and currently offers about 1,000 free online college tours in different countries. Since that time nine million students representing 120 countries took the advantage to participate in a YouVisit online tour.
Abi Mandelbaum, YouVisit CEO, and his partners are not native Americans but it dawned upon them to create online virtual tours during their studies at Brandeis University.
“We always had this thought that there might be a better way for international students and out-of-state students to get a better feel for what it was like to study at different college campuses,” Mandelbaum indicates.
“Matching up such a cool, seemingly futuristic technological experience with Yale’s neo-gothic campus might seem like a strange combination, but I found they fit together perfectly,” Mark Dunn, recruitment director at Yale university, responded after the release of the innovation.
Dunn admitted that Yale would receive a sample of Oculus headset till the end of the summer. But so far the virtual tour is going to assist a set of recruiting events. It is a good opportunity for parents and especially for potential students to get in close touch with a place where they will spend several years in the future.
In this context Abi Mandelbaum supports Mark Dunn. “It’s very expensive and time consuming to just go out and visit all the schools somebody is interested in. You’re able to transport yourself and feel like you’re actually there,” he said.
Presently, many developers concentrate their efforts on creating applications for computer games and Oculus headset is considered to make a revolution in the area of gaming first and foremost. The developers of YouVisit position their application as one of the rare applications for non-gaming experience.
The Rift headset provides an alternative approach to online tours. Wandering between the library shelves or sitting inside the laboratory is so realistic it may seriously influence the student’s choice.
Ebbe Altberg, a CEO of Linden Lab in San Francisco, shares his impressions after having a virtual tour at Yale – “Oh my, I’m back in college!” Linden Lab is also involved in a general turmoil around Oculus Rift, it developes an online world Second Life for Oculus.
Dunn do admits a Rift tour has some limitations and can’t substitute a real one. In particular it’s impossible to ask questions. But despite this the application”would be its own attraction, and the headset itself is just so cool, it’s easy to imagine high school seniors lining up for hours just to try it on.”
Yale has not yet decided what to do with a virtual tour. Dunn considers it may be useful during the meetings with students this autumn.
“I also think we will want to feature the headset during some of our on-campus outreach and recruitment events. This might seem counterintuitive, but our existing YouVisit content includes many campus spaces that we can’t normally open up to visitors.”