Virtual reality bringing artifacts to life in London

  • TECH
  • Saturday, 08 Aug 2015

Historical view: Travel back through time with VR: Photo:The Trustees of the British Museum

The British Museum is making use of virtual reality technology to allow its visitors to explore a 3D Bronze Age site this weekend.

The museum has teamed with Samsung to offer the tech company's Gear VR devices to visitors over the age of 13 during a Virtual Reality Weekend on Aug 8 and 9. Those visitors will be able to experience a virtual reality dome designed by Soluis Heritage, placing 3D scans of Bronze Age objects from the museum's collection in their original setting.

The VR exhibit will be based on a Bronze Age roundhouse within a settlement, showing how objects might have been used in the past, and creating changes in lighting and atmosphere based on research that suggests such houses might have been aligned with the sun.

Two other methods of accessing the experience will be possible: Samsung Galaxy 10.1in tablets, or a "fulldome," admitting family groups of five who will have access to an interactive screen with which to explore.

Virtual reality has been increasingly making its way into the museum experience. At London's National History Museum, visitors can currently experience First Life, a 15-minute VR experience also using the Samsung Gear VR headsets, in which David Attenborough narrates a 3D journey depicting sea creatures from 500 million years ago.

Only a few major museums have hosted their own VR experiences, but several projects are working on bringing the museum experience to the masses using the technology.

Google recently launched its Expeditions project, allowing students equipped with a Cardboard headset and a smartphone to view materials from major institutions such as the American Museum of Natural History.

And Europeana, which holds a digitised collection of archival and museum content from around Europe, enlisted the Dutch design agency ArchiVision to create a virtual tour of masterpieces from the Dutch Rijksmuseum, viewable with the Oculus Rift, giving rise to what could one day be part of a large-scale Museum of the Future. — AFP Relaxnews
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