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Developer Preserves Condemned American Flat Mill with Oculus Rift

Virtual reality (VR) technology has the power to transport users to destinations across the globe, but its impacts stem far beyond a cheap holiday. One VR developer by the name of Howard Goldbaum is proving this with the release of a new VR app that aims to preserve a historic building in Silver City, Nevada, USA that is soon to be demolished. Goldbaum hopes to do this using the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD).


That building is the American Flat Mill, which was operated in 1922 – 1926. Since its closure the ruin has served as a popular graffiti destination. The site will be demolished due to safety reasons, but Goldbaum is planning to release an app featuring more than 120 ‘VR nodes’ that will preserve the site in image form. Users will be able to put on an Oculus Rift and look around the site, studying its decorated walls.

A small sample of this experience is currently available over on the official Oculus VR Share Beta on both PC and Mac, and is compatible with both the Oculus Rift’s first and second development kits (DK1 and DK2). The sample only provides one image, though Goldbaum reasons that it is one of his personal favourites. The project has been funded by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management.

It’s an interesting application of VR, using the technology to immortalise something that won’t exist in the real world for much longer. VRFocus will continue to follow the project, reporting back with any further updates on it.

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