Friday, December 15, 2017

VR Hangar - A VR App from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

VR Hangar is a new virtual reality app produced by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. This free virtual reality app is available to use on Android phones and on iPhones.

VR Hangar contains three virtual reality tours that feature landmark moments in aviation history. Those moments are the Wright Brothers' first flight, Chuck Yeager's record-breaking flight in the Bell X-1, and the Apollo 11 mission. Each of these tours incorporates artifacts from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

I tried all three of the virtual tours in VR Hangar and was most impressed by the Apollo 11 tour. It felt like the most immersive of the three tours and it appeared to feature more archival imagery than the other two tours (that is probably to be expected as there is less available imagery of the other two events).

There is one quirk of the VR Hangar app that you should tell your students about before they use it. That quirk is that what appears to be "back" arrow is actually the arrow for moving forward in the tours. I discovered this because I initially used the "home" function in the app thinking that I had to go back to the beginning to start each part of each tour. In fact, I just needed to use the arrow that appeared to indicate moving backwards, but actually indicates moving forward.