To invent an airplane is nothing.
To build one is something.
But to fly is everything.

Otto Lilienthal


‘Birdly’ is an installation which explores the experience of a bird in flight. It tries to capture the mediated flying experience, with several methods. Unlike a common flight simulator you do not control a machine you embody a bird, the Red Kite. To evoke this embodiment we mainly rely on the sensory-motor coupling. The participant can control the simulator with his hands and arms, which directly correlates to the wings and the primary feathers of the bird. Those inputs are reflected in the flight model of the bird and displayed physically by the simulator through nick, roll and heave movements.
Visualized through HMD (Oculus Rift) the participant is embedded in a virtual landscape where his body is the body of a Red Kite. The whole scenery is perceived in the first person perspective of a bird.
To intensify the embodiment we include additional sonic, olfactoric* and wind feedback. Soundwise you perceive only the roaring of the wind and the flaps of the wings. The olfactoric feedback is based on the location which the bird flies over in the scenery and ranges from the scent of a forest, soil, to several other odors of the wilderness. According to the speed of the bird the simulator regulates the headwind with a fan.

*olfactoric feedback will not be at the demos, at the moment only works in the lab


Max Rheiner

Head of the project and Lecturer BA/MA Interaction Design, Core Team

Fabian Troxler

MA Design/Interaction Student, Core Team

Thomas Tobler

Head of the Design and Modeling Workhshop, Core Team

Vladimir Jankijevic

3D Modeling and Animations

Thomas Erdin

MA Scientific Visualization