Iowa State professor wants to use Oculus Rift to raise virtually free-range chicken.

What problem doesn't technology solve these days? You want a pizza instantly? You can print one. Not enough room for your chickens to roam and live a happy free-range life? Just strap Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets on them and make them think they're running in an open field.

That is what Austin Stewart, an assistant professor from Iowa State University, is working on with a project called Second Livestock – the name is a spin on the 3D virtual world Second Life.

The setup: The chicken wears a chicken-sized headset that projects a virtual field, the chicken walks on an omni-directional treadmill that controls their virtual world to allow exploration. While no chicken has been used as a test subject yet, humans can try out the system using a yoga ball as the trackpad.

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