Virtual reality will be used to help some military veterans visit war memorials in the Nation's Capital from their homes.
With the help of wireless provider T-Mobile and augmented reality and VR channel Healium, the Honor Flight Network will bring to veterans' homes the virtual experience of visiting the World War II Memorial and other Washington, D.C., memorials during May, which is Military Appreciation Month.
Volunteers with the Honor Flight Network, a non-profit organization that flies veterans to Washington, D.C., to see war memorials honoring veterans' service and sacrifices, will be equipped with VR headsets and hotspots that connect to T-Mobile's 5G network. The network will travel to small, rural towns across the U.S. to veterans' homes and give them the virtual tours.
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The VR experience includes the Changing of the Guard at Arlington National Cemetery, and video and sound from the World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Women in Military Service For America Memorial. There’s also a virtual tour of the USS Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean.
“We are losing our World War II Veterans at a rate of hundreds a day, and sadly many may not live long enough to be able to see their memorials in person,” said Healium CEO Sarah Hill in a a statement. “While nothing is as good as a real, in-person Honor Flight trip, this is a beautiful way to take Veterans there if they’re not able to travel.”
Last month, T-Mobile announced its 5G home internet service – and competitor Verizon has an offering, too – but you will want to check coverage maps for availability. 5G can provide broadband speeds that outperform cable-delivered connections.
Faster, more robust connections mean more will be able to experience VR applications that "can transport us to new places, giving us immersive experiences that better connect us to our world,” said John Saw, executive vice president of advanced and emerging technologies at T-Mobile, in a statement. “We are delighted to team up with Healium and Honor Flight Network to help give back to those who have served our country.”
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Military veterans get virtual reality tour of war memorials from home