Have you ever wanted to visit the holy sites of Jerusalem from the comfort of your home?
Now it is possible, thanks to Blimey’s technology and a virtual reality headset.
Israeli-Canadian company Blimey has developed a new tool that offers people an immersive glimpse of the holy sites from anywhere in the world.
Virtual tourists can say a prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site of Islam, or visit the Western Wall, which is a remnant of an ancient Jewish temple.
They can even join the lively Holy Fire ceremony at the Holy Sepulchre, revered as Jesus’ burial site.
Participants can also join a game in which they interact with others and perform tasks – like opening doors, laying a hand on Jesus’ Tomb and placing a prayer note at the Western Wall.
Blimey CEO Nimrod Shanit hopes the technology can be a bridge between cultures.
“As a child I remember walking inside the Dome of the Rock or visiting the entire Temple Mount as it’s called in Hebrew. So, I felt that for me it’s important for others to be able to engage in the same freedom and have the same ability that I had as a child.”
“In every project that I do, the purpose is to be able to give people the opportunity to understand and put prejudice aside and be able to communicate with others without any bias.”
The VR tour and game feature are a mixture of 360-degree videos and models made from 3D scanning, which are meant to give the participant a sense of engagement.
Travelers can teleport themselves into the holy sites, explore Jerusalem and even engage with locals in the form of 3D holograms.
Blimey’s art director Oury Atlan.
“As a French guy I had the opportunity to come to Israel only when I was 15 and then after, 10 years later to do Aliyah, meaning I didn’t have a chance to go see the Western Wall for a long time and this game is an amazing opportunity for people that cannot come right away to be there and to feel it and to have an opportunity to almost touch the walls.”
Blimey’s technology is also incorporated and being used in museum spaces around the world.
Shanit says heritage sites and museums must offer elements of interaction, in order to attract young audiences who are using technology in their everyday life.
“It is important to understand that it’s simply a tool, the means for people to be able to understand and be able to communicate better and as long as we can create this opportunity, as long as we can be able to interact and understand the world better, I think we will only improve who we are and allow our next generation to do much better in this world.”