By Emily Roden
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to scuba dive with sharks? While many of us might not get this opportunity firsthand, the up-and-coming technology of virtual reality can allow us to have this experience from the safety of our own homes. Virtual reality is a simulation experience made possible through filming with multiple virtual reality cameras that capture a full 360-degree view. For several years, GHOF Executive Producer George C. Schellenger has been using VR cameras in the field to deliver an up-close and personal experience. He has deployed cameras at the Nassau Grouper Spawning Aggregations (SPAG sites) in Little Cayman, in the Florida Everglades on an airboat, and on the shallow sandbars at Tiger Beach in the Bahamas. To “dive” into these adventures, all you have to do is put on a VR headset, such as the Oculus Go, and you are able to go on a 360-degree voyage with our GHOF team.
One potential and exciting application for VR is for education. When students put on a VR headset, they have the opportunity to experience what it’s really like in the wild and find out how scientists and filmmakers are doing their work. This goes a long way to inspire an interest in pursuing a career in marine science and, most importantly, a deeper appreciation for the sea and its ecosystem. Through the Guy Harvey STEAM Education Program, students will have access to these videos and be able to participate in virtual field trips exploring oceans and marine life all around the world.