PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – High Point Pittsburgh was the brainchild of former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette travel writer David Bear.

His idea was to create a public viewing spot on top of the USX Tower in downtown Pittsburgh similar to the one New York City has for the Empire State Building.

More than likely, the pictures you have seen of Pittsburgh have been taken from atop Mount Washington.

However, what if you could be at the top of the tallest building? What would Pittsburgh look like then?

“It’s being somewhere without actually having to be there. It’s experiencing feelings, buildings, without actually being in the place,” Carnegie Mellon University graduate student Sean McChesney said.

That is his short definition of virtual reality and it’s exactly what he and a team of graduate students are doing with the USX Tower.

“Basically, you’ll be able to ride the elevator up. You’ll be able to see the views, see the dining halls, the media gallery, see what can take place inside of it. It will be as real as possible,” McChesney said.

This tour is of a proposed three-story glass structure that would sit on top of Pittsburgh’s tallest building. A team of four graduate students from the Entertainment Technology Center at CMU are making it so it can be accessed from any computer.

When it is released on May 3, you will be able to control your personalized tour via keyboard and mouse.

It’s all proportionate, it’s all relative. We’ve shown a few people who are afraid of heights and they are ‘Okay I’m good. You can back away from the window now.’ So, it’s pretty close,” McChesney said.

If you were a tourist looking from Mount Washington and wanted a closer look, you pop a quarter into the old time binoculars and take a look around town.

Now, McChesney and his team will do the same thing from the top of the tower where you can look at any of the pictures up close and personal.


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