One of the big stories this year so far has been virtual reality.
From a VR board game to virtual reality gaming centers around Tokyo, the fever will surely keep on building until the release of the Sony PlayStation VR in October.
A new crowdfunding project in Japan is aiming to create a virtual reality way to experience Edo, or historical Tokyo.
The project is currently around 10% of the way to their ¥5 million target with 23 days to go. We hope they make it because it’s a brilliant idea.
They plan to recreate four famous areas from historical Edo — Nihonbashi, Edo Castle, Asakusa and the daimyo (baron) mansions — and the more money they raise, the more they can create.
Users will be able to wear a head-mounted display and feel like they are walking around Edo, brought back to life in remarkable detail through CGI 3D-modelling.
Funders can go one step further and be integrated into history. A samurai or geisha in the VR Edo will be modelled after funders’ faces while their names will be written on a banner featured in the simulated world.
The project is by Avatra LLC, whose director, Shinkyo Oishi, is a Buddhist monk, so this really is a marriage of old and new. (As we know, monks in Japan have a habit of doing unusual things.) The CG art will be handled by Nobuo Nakamura.
Here is some test footage. The streets and buildings are empty but in the finished version there will be a full population of Edoites in the experience.