Man decides to create his own Oculus Rift... for chickens

Virtual reality for chickens. Let’s call it Oclucklus Rift. The Second Livestock project aims to develop a virtual reality headset for chickens, giving the farm birds a feeling of living free range to improve their mental well-being. The virtual experience will let chickens explore digital environments outside of their cage, while motion tracking will allow them to peck for bugs. “There’s waving grass, a few trees and some artificial intelligence chickens wandering around as well,” says Austin Stewart, creator of the project.

Oculus Rift, the virtual reality headset that lets users look around a game space as if they were really standing inside it, is widely regarded as the future of gaming. However, one Iowa State University assistant professor believes that the technology might also be the key to the future of livestock. Well, sort of. Austin Stewart presented his idea, which he calls “Second Livestock” (a play on the popular human-simulator game “Second Life”), at an art and design exhibition in Ames, Iowa, which started April 23. The idea behind the project, according to the Ames Tribune, is simply that chickens are too numerous in the U.S. to all live a free-range lifestyle. However, by equipping caged chickens with a modified Oculus Rift, these chickens could be raised under the illusion that they’re living out in the open, even from their small confined spaces.

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