See farming via virtual reality

Farm virtual reality launched in Rockhampton


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Tim Gentle, Think Digital, at the Rockhampton Show.

Tim Gentle, Think Digital, at the Rockhampton Show.

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It's the virtual reality experience we need to educate city kids about the bush - and it launched in Rockhampton this week.

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Imagine sitting in your living room in your comfiest tracksuit, but looking around you and seeing and hearing all the sounds of life on a farm.

Farm VR was launched at the Rockhampton Show this week by Tim Gentle, Think Digital, and the virtual reality experience is really something you can barely imagine. 

The technology immerses you into various farms to highlight food comes from, different careers and the types of technology being used on farms. 

Welcome to Virtual Reality!

Welcome to Virtual Reality!

With 360 degree views through a fully immersive headset, it truly feels as if you are sitting in the back of a ute.

Mr Gentle said he has designed the experiences in line with educational syllabuses – and they are already being used in schools.  

Tim Gentle explains to Laken Peacock, 15, Blackall, that he can look up, down, and all around him through the headset for a full 360 degree view.

Tim Gentle explains to Laken Peacock, 15, Blackall, that he can look up, down, and all around him through the headset for a full 360 degree view.

“We’re working with agricultural teachers,” Mr Gentle said.

“In fact from Urrbrae Agricultural High School in Adelaide we had two teachers delivering virtual classroom experiences out in the paddocks and in the cattle yards delivering lessons.

“You can imagine the teacher up the front talking to the students, telling them they’re going to head to a farm - not literally, but virtually - and they put on their headsets, and they’re at a farm watching an agricultural teacher deliver a lesson.”

Mr Gentle has a passion for agriculture passed down from his father who is a dairy farmer.

He also worked in the dairy and beef cattle industries before he won a touring coach in an online competition. 

The next step from VR is AR. Check it out!

The next step from VR is AR. Check it out!

“This coach came up for grabs on Facebook, and they said ‘what would you do if you won a coach’ and I said I’d convert it into a classroom, and I won it,” he laughed.

“So I travel around Australia on board the coach and I teach people about digital technologies, which lead me to Farm VR.”

He said for people who have never experience virtual reality technology before, the experience can be overwhelming. 

“I have had nothing but positive responses,” he said.

“We’re watching a 360 degree video, which allows people to feel like they’re actually in the movie. 

“I had one little girl who I put under the Great Barrier Reef, and she’d never been out, but she took off her head mask and there was a little tear and she said ‘that was one of the most beautifulest things I’ve ever seen’.”

Springsure boy Charlie Kay, 15, has his turn with the headset.

Springsure boy Charlie Kay, 15, has his turn with the headset.

It took 18 months to produce Farm VR, which was filmed at cattle station, dairy farms, sheep properties and vineyards.

Next on the list is a salmon farm in Tasmania, and going hunting for truffles with dogs. 

Mr Gentle said he hopes to create hundreds of experiences representing all commodities in an effort to help bridge the gap between city and country. 

”I think that there seems to be a lot of people in the city who don’t understand where food comes from,” he said. 

“This is going to the farm without getting your boots muddy.”

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