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Experience the world from a third-person perspective

A rig for the Oculus Rift VR headset lets you view the world in real-time as though you're experiencing your own life in third-person.

Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET

Third-person perspective -- that is, as pertains to video games -- offers advantages over first-person perspective, such as a wider field of vision, whereas first-person has the benefit of deeper immersion. What if you could take that step back in your own life, and view it all as though you were standing just behind yourself?

Well, we may soon need wonder no more, thanks to a Polish 3D tech education company called Mepi. Mepi has created a prototype device that allows the wearer to view the world in third-person perspective (TPP) through an Oculus Rift headset -- as though they're playing a game.

The rig itself as worn as a backpack, with an arm extending above the wearer's head. On this arm, two cameras are mounted behind and above the wearer's head, feeding video directly into the Oculus Rift in real-time, controlled by a joystick so the wearer can look around -- although we imagine future iterations might make use of the Oculus Rift's motion sensors.

It might seem a somewhat strange idea, but, as Mepi CEO Bartosz Barlowski explained to, the company envisions a range of potential applications.

"Our goal is to develop TPP view for use in virtual reality devices and solve real world problems by using it to help users be more aware of their environment," he said. "Blind spots in interior car view, help[ing] an engineer navigate to the right place so he can perform his work." Other applications could include live events, construction and even medical use.

It'll probably need a bit of streamlining before that point -- at the moment, it requires a backpack to carry the equipment on which it runs -- but it's certainly an interesting concept, given that virtual reality is usually employed to provide a first-person perspective in a virtual world rather than third-person in the real one.

Check it out in action in the video below.