TAIYUAN, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- Admiring the full moon at Mid-Autumn Festival, the 15th day of the eighth month on China's lunar calendar, has been a tradition in China for over 3,000 years. But the ritual could be easily spoiled by thick cloud or rain.
Now virtual reality (VR) technology means the weather is longer an issue.
"The moon seemed so close, it was like I could touch it," said Wang Hui, resident of Taiyuan, capital of north China's Shanxi Province.
Wang was wearing a VR headset and said she felt like she was flying to the moon just like Chang'e, a Chinese goddess, who according to legend left Earth to live on the moon with a pet rabbit.
Not only can she "feel" the moon, Wang can also experience the lunar landscape and zero gravity just like an astronaut. She can ever "drink" a cup of osmanthus-flavored wine, another tradition on the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Moon-related VR programs have gained popularity recently, according to Zhang Haixiang, manager of Taiyuan's VR experience store. Many customers have brought their children to the store experience VR moon-watching.
"Technology is altering the way we live," said Wang Nan, a VR systems researcher at Federal Polytechnic University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
"In the old days, we couldn't take part in moon-watching on foggy or rainy days. Now we can even interact with the moon. For instance, by moving our eyes, we can 'disperse' the clouds," Wang said.
The virtual and augmented reality industries are growing in China. The technology has been widely applied in anti-drug awareness campaigns, education and scientific research and is expected to be applied in more areas, further innovating everyday life.
"Technology allows us to see the future," said Yu Jun, editor-in-chief of the popular Chinese science website Guokr.com. "More new technologies will become part of our life and change the future."