To quote The Hitchhiker’s Guide, “There is an art to flying, or rather a knack. Its knack lies in learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss. … Clearly, it is this second part, the missing, that presents the difficulties.”Birdly is a new Oculus Rift project that reduces the learning curve of flying immensely while never letting you hit the ground in reality.Of course, you won’t really be flying the way Arthur Dent did, but Birdly provides a truly immersive virtual reality experience. It’s being developed by a group from the Zurich University of the Arts, and it’s yet another wild look at the kind of things we can expect from Oculus Rift developers. It’s like strapping on Daedalus’ wax wings only without the risk of catastrophic melting.There are two key components to the rig. First, of course, there’s the Oculus Rift that supplies the user with VR imagery. Then there’s the controller, a table-like device that you lie on face down. “Wings” extend to either side with a hand-sized paddle and a single button to trigger specific actions. The rig is articulated and allows users to tilt and move like a bird… well, like a man-bird, anyway, flapping and swooping through the virtual airspace. There’s even a fan mounted on the front to give you the sensation of air rushing past.Those lucky enough to haven taken Birdly for a test flight have been blown away. One user recounts tipping downward a little hard — which resulted in the fan speeding up and the virtual landscape rushing past his eyes alarmingly fast. His pulse raced and he found himself gulping for air before adjusting his posture and pulling back up into a gentle glide.Obviously you’re going to need a bigger house to fully enjoy it. Between your new omni-directional treadmill and a Birdly rig, square footage will start disappearing in a hurry.