Visiting the pyramids of Giza, the pantheon of Athens or the Grand Canyon may not be feasible for many but thanks to virtual reality, these historic sites could soon be accessible from anywhere in the world, including your couch.
A Singapore-based start-up, Hiverlab, is working to preserve heritage sites in a virtual world where users can get a close look at these famed structures and learn about the histories through interactive links within their virtual reality, or VR, headsets.
"Heritage will eventually decline and to be able to digitize it at this very moment is one way of conserving it," Ender Jiang, founder of Hiverlab, told CNBC in an interview. Jiang's ambition runs deeper - he wants to eventually amass enough VR content to create a digital library of an expansive history of mankind.
But Hiverlab is starting small. Earlier this year, the company collaborated with an art historian at the Nanyang Technological University, Michael Walsh, to create a prototype VR model of the Armenian church in Famagusta, Cyprus. The church was built in the Middle Ages and is one of the oldest surviving buildings of that era in the region, bearing a rich history.
Hiverlab received three-dimensional (3D) scans of the church from an international company that Jiang did not name and research materials from Walsh to design an interactive model that took nearly two months to put together. Users can walk around the modest-looking church and click on built-in hyperlinks using motion controllers, which are available with high-end VR headsets like HTC Hive.