Chinese zoo uses virtual reality to allow visitors to ‘interact’ with animals

New technology is a ‘major step forward’ for Guangdong’s largest animal park, manager says

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 January, 2018, 3:09pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 January, 2018, 3:09pm

A zoo in southern China has started using virtual reality and QR codes to allow visitors to get closer than ever to its animals, according to local media reports.

As people move through the various sections of Guangzhou Zoo in Guangdong province, they have the opportunity to “interact” with animals via VR headsets and their mobile phones, China News Service reported on Tuesday.

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In some areas, people can scan a QR code on their phones to make an animal appear on their screens. They can then learn more about it and even control its movements, the report said.

About 20,000 people turned up on Monday to try out the new technology, though not everyone was impressed.

“It was weird to see fake animals through VR when there are real animals in the zoo,” one person wrote on social media.

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It was a fair comment, especially as some of the virtual animals that people can interact with are dinosaurs.

Zoo boss Liang Fengyun was unfazed, however. He was quoted as saying that the introduction of the new technology was a step forward for the 60-year-old attraction, which is the largest zoo in Guangdong.