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Fly Like A Bird Thursday At The Field Museum With Full-Body Virtual Reality

MUSEUM CAMPUS — A new full-body virtual reality ride will let people fly like a bird at the Field Museum, but you'll only get to flee the digital coop for a day.

Birdly, a bird flight simulator powered by virtual reality, will be on display from about 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the Downtown natural history museum at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive. 

The machine is the work of Evanston-based D3D Cinema, a sister company to the producer of "Michael Jordan to the Max" and other big-screen films. 

Birdly riders strap themselves onto a plank and into a virtual reality headset that, for now, takes them to the digital skies of Manhattan or San Francisco. Riders can flap their wings, nosedive or otherwise move to change direction. A fan blows in their faces to simulate speed and headwinds. Riders can crash. 

The machine will be a permanent fixture soon in the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, Calif., and the National Aviary in Pittsburgh. It's being displayed as a demo Thursday at the Field before moving on. 

“We’re excited to make Birdly available to museums, amusement parks, entertainment centers, and even individual consumers,” said Don Kempf, president and founder of D3D Cinema. 

Birdly will be on display on the main level of the Field, a museum spokeswoman said. There will be no  charge in addition to general admission.

The public will be allowed to watch the machine at work, but only a few will be selected to ride, a spokeswoman for D3D Cinema said. 

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