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Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River in Washington state. (Big Power Project Photo)

Washington’s Grand Coulee Dam is one of the most impressive man-made structures in the country, but it can be difficult to fully see and understand all that goes into the hydroelectric power generator on the Columbia River. A new virtual reality experience changes that.

Seattle-based Pixvana, the AR and VR startup, and Big Power Project, a content production studio, have teamed on a 360-degree educational video to show viewers the infrastructure and inner workings of the dam like never before.

Launching this Memorial Day Weekend at the dam’s visitor center, the 5-minute experience goes inside the Third Power Plant — one of the largest power-generating facilities on the planet — and teaches viewers how hydroelectricity works. View a version of the video here.

Green water pumps supply the Central Washington area with irrigation water from the Columbia, which was the original intent of the Grand Coulee Dam. (GeekWire Photo / Tom Krazit)

According to a news release on Tuesday, visitors will be able to use Oculus Go headsets stationed in the dam visitor center. Pixvana’s SPIN Studio platform makes it easy to manage and distribute the content to multiple VR headsets at once.

The immersive experience offers never-before-seen footage from the top of the dam, inside the water-fed generators, all the way down the 5,000-foot-long face — and everywhere in between.

“The Grand Coulee Dam is one of the most fascinating facilities in the country, but high security, the extremely loud volume of operation, and other physical barriers make it difficult to experience live,” said Rachel Lanham, chief operating officer for Pixvana. “The opportunity lent itself perfectly to the virtual reality medium, helping viewers learn in an exciting new way that increases retention, memory, and empathy.”

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