Most people consider virtual reality as an immersive and educational technology. Being able to visualize certain concepts or types of data can unlock a lot of new use cases. In the US, the Weather Channel has begun using VR to educate the masses on ice fishing and frozen lakes. It is a very interesting development which can even help save lives in the long run.
The Weather Channel Experiments With VR
When it comes to ice fishing in various US states, at least a solid foot of frozen ice is needed. While it may seem thick enough at a glance, the ice behaves in many mysterious ways. Explaining these risks by droning up facts will not necessarily convey the right message. Illustrating the potential dangers
of overestimating ice thickness through virtual reality, is a different matter.
More specifically, the channel recently broadcasted a video segment devoted to ice fishing during spring thaw. People tend to overlook the winters are no longer as cold as they used to be a decade or two ago. As such, the ice thickness is also undergoing changes, most of which are invisible to the human eye. By illustrating potential hazards, the meteorologists are trying to put the focus on public safety.
This experiment comes at a crucial time. Numerous incidents involving ice fishing have begun surfacing online. Most of these problems arise due to the ice conditions being overestimated. While incidents like these tend to happen every year, one needs to be aware of all potential problems regardless. Especially when it comes to dealing with unfamiliar lakes one can never be cautious enough.
It would appear the Weather Channel has plans to put a stronger focus on virtual and mixed reality for its segments in the future. More specifically nearly 80% of their programming might receive these visual aids by 2020. That means there is a lot of work to be done, although it is an effort that should be applauded. Combining 360-degree video, AR and VR elements, and a regular broadcast setting can lead to more immersive and interactive programming.
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