Sólfar Studios, the Icelandic VR studio behind the critically-acclaimed virtual reality experience EVEREST VR, announced today that the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) has accepted Sólfar’s charitable donation of the EVEREST VR application, which will be held as part of the Society’s Everest Collection.
EVEREST VR was initially released in 2016 and was widely hailed as a breath-taking representation of the experience of climbing Mount Everest in VR. Sólfar continued to extend the experience’s educational utility by incorporating 18 historical expedition routes into a real-time 3D map of the mountain that participants can follow at their own pace and traverse the mountain at scales ranging from 1:1 to 1500:1 metres. No depiction of such expeditions would be complete without the famous 1953 British Expedition, where Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers to successfully summit Everest.
“As we became familiar with the work of the Society, and the wonderful collection of photographs held in their Everest Collection, we set out to include photographs from the 1953 Expedition within our VR experience such that viewers could gain a stronger appreciation of the setting for this historical moment in mankind’s urge to explore the unknown,” commented Kjartan Pierre Emilsson co-founder and CEO at Sólfar. “The unique ability of VR to transport us to impossible places is something we strongly believe in and we’re deeply honoured that the Society feels VR has this potential to support their mission.”
The donation of EVEREST VR is meant to support the Society’s contemporary charitable and educational work in promoting awareness and knowledge of its historical Mount Everest-related Collections. These will include presentations and demonstrations for public audiences, schools, academic and research communities in the UK, linked to the Society’s Everest Collection. Further uses include a training function
“We are delighted to receive this generous donation and using historic stills imagery from our Everest-related photographic collection within the virtual reality environment provides added context and value for the viewer”, said Alasdair MacLeod, Head of Enterprise and Resources at the Society.
The donation of EVEREST VR to the RGS-IBG is made possible by the generous support of HTC, NVIDIA and Scan Computers, with each company contributing the high performance VR and PC hardware needed to form the Virtual Reality system required for EVEREST VR to be displayed alongside the Society´s Everest Collection.
Peter Frolund, VP for VR (Europe) at HTC commented, “Everest VR offers a spectacular journey to the top of the earth, showcasing stunning visual fidelity combined with room-scale technology, which allows players to walk around the virtual space, only possible on HTC Vive. Virtual reality is an incredible tool to explore and discover real life environments few have had the chance to visit first hand, and we are thrilled to support the Royal Geographic Society’s Everest Collection with HTC Vive.”
“Conquering Mount Everest is on the bucket list of many climbers and adrenaline junkies, but only a few will ever have the chance to scale it,” says Jason Paul, General Manager for Virtual Reality at NVIDIA. “NVIDIA has worked closely with Solfar Studios to bring advanced effects such as NVIDIA Turbulence and VRWorks to EverestVR so aspiring adventurers can experience a virtual Everest that is as close as possible to the real climb. We’re very excited to support this experience and see it part of the Society’s Everest Collection.”