Prepare For Impact started life as an unsettling Oculus Rift virtual reality demo that simulated what it was like to be inside a plane during an emergency landing in water. But its creators have since expanded the project into a free app that simulates countless ways your next flight could go wrong.
So why would anyone want to download the app for their iOS or Android mobile devices? To scare themselves into never stepping onto a plane again? Just the opposite.
The Prepare For Impact app, developed at Italy's University of Udine's HCI Lab, simulates emergencies such as a fire on the plane, or a collision during takeoff, from a first-person perspective. And as the emergency unfolds, players are able to control their character as they're given instructions and directions on how to best survive the incident, and how to escape the plane when it's all over.
It might sound morbid, but research accompanying the simulator has found that passengers are more likely to properly learn safety procedures from a 3D game like this, than from a safety card placed in the seatback in front of them once they're on a plane. Just think back to how many times you've tuned out the safety demonstration on a flight.
After having played through the simulated disasters, it was also discovered that travellers were less doom and gloom about something going wrong during a flight, because they had already experienced the possible dire outcomes, and were more confident about surviving them. When you think about it, the pilots who will be at the controls of your next flight were trained on a simulator, so why shouldn't the passengers be too?