Pittsburgh’s tallest skyscraper, the U.S. Steel Tower, 64 stories above downtown, has a one-acre rooftop that’s actually the largest, highest space atop any building on the planet.  And while this destination is one that most people – natives or visitors – won’t likely get to visit in person, technology has now made it virtually accessible.

Recently, High Point Pittsburgh premiered a fully interactive, virtual destination, Virtually There,  which allows anyone with a computer and Internet access the opportunity to explore an imaginative facility proposed for this unique destination.  The interactive technology making this possible is the most recent phase of the Hight Point Pittsburgh Investigation, a multi-year project on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University.   Virtually There was developed by a multi-national team of students from the university’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC).  At the ETC, students can earn a two-year Masters of Entertainment Technology degree, jointly conferred by Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Fine Arts and School of Computer Science.  The brainchild of Don Marinelli and the late Randy Pausch, the ETC and its programs uniquely blend left- and right-brain thinking, with stellar innovations and creative outcomes as the result.  Virtually There is one example.

At the premier of Virtually There, we caught up with Sean McChesney from the ETC team that created the virtual destination.  Watch the video below to learn more about the team’s collaboration to create this experience.  In the same video you’ll also hear from former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Travel Editor David Bear.  Bear is now a fellow in CMU’s STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and is the overseer of the High Point Pittsburgh project.

Both Bear and McChesney recently presented the Virtually There project to a group of nine national and international media – all focused on technology – in town for Carnegie Mellon University’s annual Information Technology Media Fellowship, June 17 – 19, 2012.  Among the media outlets represented were USA Today, Thomson Reuters, Computerworld, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Globe and Mail of Canada.

Click here to learn more about Virtually There or to access the simulation for yourself.