North West Wales

Bangor Uni graphics expert writes 3D deep ocean app

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Media captionThe behaviour of the creatures is based on research Dr Cenydd has carried out

A Bangor University computer scientist is developing an app which will allow users to "swim" in 3D with dolphins and prehistoric reptiles in the deep ocean.

Dr Llyr ap Cenydd is working on the cutting-edge virtual reality technology for electronics giant Samsung.

Ocean Rift will run on a headset powered by Samsung's Note 4 smartphone, and should be released later this year.

Dr Cenydd, who researches in computer animation, said: "It's been exciting to see my creations as real things."

Samsung invited him to write the app for its Gear VR ski goggles-like device, which magnifies the smartphone screen so that it fills the user's visual field.

He has been working on the software over the past nine months.

Dr Cenydd, 33, said: "By showing a different image to each eye and tracking where the user is looking, they are made to feel like they have been transported to a new reality.

Image copyright Bangor University
Image caption Prehistoric sea creatures inhabit the lost city of Atlantis in the app

"We have been demonstrating something similar at our open days and during Bangor Science Festival this year and everyone has been amazed by the experience."

Ocean Rift has a series of habitats allowing the user the experience of swimming with a range of sea creatures including dolphins, turtles, sea snakes, rays, sharks and whales.

The destinations range from coral reefs and shipwrecks to lagoons, the deep sea and even the lost city of Atlantis, populated by extinct sea creatures.

Ocean Rift's creatures are powered by artificial intelligence so they never move in the same way twice.

Dr Cenydd said: "Ocean Rift started as an experiment to see how far I could take emerging virtual reality technology to make someone feel like they are underwater.

"Virtual reality gives you a real sense that there is something in front of you.

"It genuinely feels like something the size of a 747 is moving next to you."

Image copyright Bangor University
Image caption Some of the underwater creatures are written to be more friendly than others

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