Last updated: 10:25 AM ET, Fri July 24 2015

Space Needle Introduces Free Virtual Reality App

Travel Technology | Ryan Rudnansky | July 23, 2015

Space Needle Introduces Free Virtual Reality App

Photo courtesy of The Space Needle

Now you can walk around Seattle’s Space Needle from across the world.

The major landmark launched a new virtual reality app called Space Needle 360º on Wednesday that allows adventurers to stand on the Space Needle’s spire 600 feet up in the air, walk along its Halo (outermost ring) and fly around the city of Seattle in a seaplane… all from the comfort of your living room.

The Space Needle worked with photographers Michael Franz and Gavin Farrell of PANOGS to create immersive, spherical, 360-degree experiences from sites in Seattle not accessible to the general public.

Using 360-degree video cameras and a variety of robotic camera heads, content was converted into spherical images or 360-degree video, allowing app users to see in every direction when looking through a special virtual reality viewer.

"At the Space Needle, we have a tech-forward brand," Vice President of Marketing Karen Olson said, via a release. "Over the past few years, we've launched a series of digital experiences that let our guests see and interact with the view. Now with our virtual reality app, our guests can enjoy some of the best views in Seattle and take the views to go!"

For the “Soar over Seattle” experience, photographers mounted a rig with six 360-degree video cameras off the pontoon of a seaplane.

For the “Walk around the outer edge!” experience, two facilities team members wearing harnesses walked on the Space Needle’s Halo while holding a pole with four mounted, 360-degree video cameras on one end and a stabilizer on the other end.

For the "Top of the Needle" experience, photographers enlisted the help of a mechanical engineer to build a mount for a robotic camera that featured 360-degree views from the spire of the Space Needle.

This isn’t the first time the Space Needle has used advanced technology to enhance the experience for guests. Its first app, the Space Needle app, uses Augmented Reality (AR) and hologram-like 3D images to create selfie photo opps around the Needle, on the Observation Deck and more.

The Space Needle is also gearing up to launch a new AR tour as part of an update on the original Space Needle app, while new digital experiences are being launched on the Observation Deck to let guests see and interact with the view.

Space Needle 360º is available through Apple and Google Play stores. To get the full, immersive experience, guests should use a Google VR Cardboard Viewer available from the Space Needle or at most VR Cardboard retailers.

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