Opening Night: Birdly

Join us for the opening night of Birdly at Le Laboratoire, with a talk by Max Rheiner on Conception and Creation of a Full Body Immersive Experience.

Event Details


Le Laboratoire Cambridge
650 E Kendall St, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142 United States


December 02, 2015 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm America/New York (UTC-05:00)


SOLD OUT (Free - RSVP required)


Opening Night with Max Rheiner

Conception and Creation of a Full Body, Immersive Experience

What started as an art/design research project at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHDK) has evolved into a startup. At this special event, Max Rheiner, the creator of Birdly, will outline the story behind his multi-sensory flight simulator, and talk about the methods used in the exploration of the field of full body immersion.

Max Rheiner is a senior lecturer at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHDK), who has been teaching in both the bachelors and masters programs for the Department of Interaction Design, since 2006.

max_rheinerHe received his Diploma from Zurich University of the Arts in the field of New Media Arts, in 2003. The main areas of discipline that he specialises in are Embodied Interaction and Physical Computing. Of these topics, he conceived and developed the Physical Computing Laboratory for the Department of Interaction Design that has been running since 2006.

His research and artistic interest center on interactive experiences, which utilises methods from Virtual/Augmented Reality and Immersive Telepresence. Moreover, his artistic work has been recognised and exhibited in a number of international and well-renowned venues such as Biennale Venice, Italy, Ars Electronic Linz, Austria, and Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media.



About Birdly

Birdly is an installation which explores the experience of a bird in flight. It captures the mediated flying experience, with several methods. Unlike a common flight simulator you do not control a machine with joysticks, a mouse, or thousands of buttons: instead you embody a bird, the “Red Kite” to fly intuitively. Birdly mainly relies on sensory-motor coupling. The participant can command the installation with arms and hands which directly correlates to the wings (flapping) and the primary feathers of the bird. Those inputs are reflected in the flight model of the bird and displayed physically by the simulator through nick, roll and heave movements.

“We strap on an Oculus Development Kit and mount Birdly, a full-motion virtual reality rig that simulates flying. It’s one of the most awesome and intuitive VR experiences we’ve ever had, and we chat with Birdly’s creators to learn how it works.”

Opening Hours with Birdly in Operation*:

Wednesday 12/2:  12:00 – 9:00 PM
6:00 PM: Opening Event with Max Rheiner, RSVP required

Thursday 12/3: 2:00 – 9:00 PM

Friday 12/4: 12:00 – 9:00 PM
8:00 PM: Concert by John Aylward, RSVP required
More info coming soon

Saturday 12/5: 11:00 AM – 4:30 PM

*Please note: Visitors must be present in the gallery to schedule same day appointments to experience BIRDLY.  Advance reservations cannot be accommodated. Possibilities to experience Birdly during the evening events (Wednesday/Friday) will be given but limited.



Swiss Design and Technical Perfection

SOMNIACS.CO is closely linked to ZHdK (Zürich University of Art and Design) in Switzerland where several crew members of SOMNIACS teach and conduct research. The collaboration enables both the university and the company to push the boundary of creative production in the emerging field of virtual reality.

Birdly and the swissnex Network

Birdly has been traveling around the swissnex network, amazing audiences all over the globe. Have a look at the Swiss-made virtual flight simulator’s success in San Francisco, at the Sun Dance Festival, at swissnex India and, celebrating it’s U.S. East Coast debut this past summer, at the Future of Storytelling Exhibition at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image, as well as the Innovation Expo during Brooklyn’s Northside Festival. This December, Birdly descents to Cambridge– make sure you don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly like a bird!

About Le Laboratoire Cambridge

Le Laboratoire Cambridge is a unique art and design center that invites visitors to explore experiments and wonders created by innovators of all kinds to discover and experience the new frontiers of science. Leading artists and designers, chefs, and master perfumers are all innovators that contribute to this cause. Founded in 2007 in Paris by renowned inventor, writer, and Harvard Professor David Edwards, Le Laboratoire is now open in Cambridge as the new center of ArtScience Labs, a global organization dedicated to the development of the most radical ideas that transform the way we learn, imagine and evolve. The design and architecture, of Le Laboratoire Cambridge, is the work of French designer Mathieu Lehanneur and the American architects Zeke Brown and Josh Fenollosa.


Event Photos