The British European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut experienced Home: A VR Spacewalk, an immersive experience created by Rewind, in collaboration with BBC Studios Digital. The epic 15-minute VR experience takes inspiration from the very same training programs Tim Peake used before his 186-day Principia mission aboard the International Space Station.
The interactive experience sees the user traversing the ISS, journeying on the Canadarm and jetpacking back to safety. It puts the user at the centre of the story.
On coming out of the ISS Quest airlock in the VR experience, Tim exclaimed, “That’s cool!” He went on to say, “That’s brilliant, really good graphics. We don’t have the ability to control our movement like this in Houston. I’m moving faster than I could in real life but this is great for orientation; this would be perfect for training.”
After completing the experience, Tim said, “Exploring space is something that motivates a lot of young people to enter careers in science and technology. This is a really exciting time because the new generation will have unprecedented opportunities to really fly into space. The Home Virtual Reality experience brings that opportunity even closer, in a very authentic and accessible way. I hope that having this chance to engage in such a realistic spacewalk experience will help inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers.”
Solomon Rogers, Founder of Rewind commented, “Over the past five years of working at the forefront of virtual reality, our stand-out piece of content has been Home. Not only does it entertain and delight audiences, but has been considered “as close as it gets to being in space” by NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, and now Tim Peake has given it the thumbs up! The release of this piece of content to audiences around the world will hopefully encourage and enhance the public’s interest in space.”
To add to the authenticity of the experience, Home incorporates a haptic feedback system to replicate some of the vibrations an astronaut feels through a spacesuit when in contact with the ISS. In addition, a Bluetooth heart rate monitor provides feedback into the experience, recreating the sound of the user’s heartbeat.
Home has already been recognised by several awards bodies, recently adding a Drum Dadi award to its stable, alongside a silver award in the Digital Craft category at Cannes Lions, a Jury Award at Alternate Realities VR at Sheffield Doc/Fest, the Grand Prix Jury Award at Future of Storytelling, ‘Best Interactive VR Experience’ award at Byron Bay International Film Festival, a Webby Award – Film & Video for VR Gaming, Interactive or Real-time, and Best Immersive Experience at Binge Watch and A Silver award in the VR Category at The Lovies.