Realities

The Weather Channel Uses Mixed Reality To Show What Hurricane Florence Might Bring With It

weather-channel-brings-unreal-engine
Credit: Unreal Engine/ The Weather Channel

It’s hard for most of us to visualize what the numbers mean when meteorologists try to explain situations such as floods or, in the most recent situation, Hurricane Florence. The weather coverages don’t have the ability to offer a full sense of what is happening and words like ‘flying debris’ or ‘falling power lines’ sound like something that’s only dangerous in the movies, if you’ve never experienced it before.

So enter augmented reality and mixed reality.

The Weather Channel tapped into Unreal Engine via augmented reality company The Future Group to create mixed reality graphics that show exactly what they mean when they talk about storm surges of up to 11 feet high.

The technology combines live footage and computer-generated objects which creates an experience closely mimicking real life environments.

Jim Cantore narrating the effects of a tornado up close and personal

Credit: The Weather Channel / YouTube 

Credit: The Weather Channel / YouTube

It’s not compositing, as the graphics and effects are generated in real time – The Future Group uses their Frontier technology, powered by Unreal Engine. As the camera moves around, the computer generated elements change perspective too.

Obviously, the graphics are more effective than the numbers will ever be, creating a realistic setting that people will take more seriously and which will also give them useful information, especially with Hurricane Florence starting to lash out on the shores of South Carolina and not showing any signs of downgrading.

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