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Lessons from launching Oculus Quest based exhibition in a Museum

Lessons from launching Oculus Quest based exhibition in a Museum

In 2022, the National Museum in Szczecin, Poland, launched an Oculus Quest-based exhibition about the first Maritime Museum in prewar Poland. The exhibition is still running, it uses 360-degree animations and 3D reconstructions in Unreal Engine to create an immersive and interactive experience for visitors. Here’s how it was planned, executed and results it brought. 

Goals

The goals of the exhibition were to:

  • Increase awareness of the National Museum in Szczecin and its history
  • Educate visitors about the prewar city of Szczecin
  • Provide a fun and engaging experience for visitors

Execution

The exhibition was developed by a team of historians, designers, and engineers from the National Museum in Szczecin and the Polish company Immerse. The team used a variety of historical sources, including photographs, maps, and architectural drawings, to create accurate 3D reconstructions of the prewar city of Szczecin and the museum building.

The exhibition features a variety of interactive experiences, including:

  • 3D reconstruction of the prewar Warsaw based on historic maps
  • 3D reconstruction of the museum interior and ship models 
  • 360 degree movies playable on Oculus Quest to immerse visitors in the guided tour of the destroyed historic interiors and the historic event of reclaiming the sea by the Polish State
  • Web widgets of the 3d models embeddable on the museum website
  • Animated 3D Avatar of the historic figure of the Museum founder, Captain Ledochowski

Results

The exhibition has been a success. Visitors have praised the exhibition for its realism, interactivity, and educational value. Exhibition is especially popular on weekends and nearly all guests queue for the VR headsets.

Conclusion

The Oculus Quest-based exhibition at the National Museum in Szczecin is a case study in how virtual reality can be used to create immersive and educational experiences. The exhibition is a fun and engaging way for visitors to learn about the museum’s history.

 

Virtual Reality and kids – latest results from research and our prototypes

Virtual Reality and kids – latest results from research and our prototypes

Virtual reality (VR) is an emerging technology with the potential to revolutionize the way kids learn and play. VR headsets provide users with an immersive and interactive experience, allowing them to explore virtual worlds and interact with objects in a way that is not possible in the real world.

This case study will examine how VR is being used by kids in education, therapy, and entertainment. It will also discuss the most recent research data on the benefits and risks of VR use for children.

Education

VR is increasingly being used in schools to create engaging and interactive learning experiences. For example, students can use VR to take virtual field trips to historical sites, explore the human body, or learn about complex scientific concepts.

A 2023 study published in the journal Educational Technology Research and Development found that students who used VR to learn about chemistry concepts performed significantly better on tests than students who learned using traditional methods. The study also found that students who used VR were more motivated and engaged in their learning.

Therapy

VR is also being used to treat a variety of childhood conditions, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), anxiety, and phobias. For example, VR can be used to help children with ASD develop social skills, practice communication skills, and learn new behaviors.

A 2023 study published in the journal Child Psychiatry & Human Development found that VR-based therapy was effective in reducing anxiety symptoms in children with ASD. The study also found that VR therapy was more effective than traditional therapy methods.

Entertainment

VR is also becoming increasingly popular for entertainment purposes. There are now a wide variety of VR games and experiences available for kids, including educational games, adventure games, and social experiences.

VR games can help kids develop problem-solving skills, spatial reasoning skills, and hand-eye coordination. VR experiences can also help kids learn about different cultures and perspectives.

Our approach – Escape Room for Kids

The concept was simple. Let’s set up the HTC Vive and invite children to test our Kid room VR game, which is – as the name suggests 🙂 – a virtual escape room for children. The kids discover all kinds of interactions in a locked room where everything can also be demolished. There was a queue of people willing to test and the fun started.

Research data

The body of research on the benefits and risks of VR use for children is still growing. However, the most recent research suggests that VR can be a safe and effective tool for learning, therapy, and entertainment.

A 2023 study published in the journal Pediatrics found that short-term use of VR by children is safe and does not lead to any adverse effects. The study also found that VR can be used to improve a variety of child development outcomes, including cognitive skills, social skills, and emotional well-being.

Results

VR is a powerful technology with the potential to have a significant impact on the way kids learn, play, and heal. As VR technology continues to develop and become more affordable, we can expect to see even more innovative and effective VR applications for kids.

The effects were surprising. Children, unlike adults, were not at all intimidated by the world of VR, even if they put on glasses for the first time in their lives. They energetically grabbed the controllers and moved – literally – forward, not looking back at the cables and walls. Because they had not yet lost their natural curiosity and were not afraid of failure or embarrassment, they tried all the possibilities and variants of the game. The queue grew, and the next child in line counted the last ten seconds out loud to the playing toddler. The children watched the progress and points scored on the laptop screen and there was a lot of laughter.

Night of the Museums

Night of the Museums

Solution

We came up with the idea of creating a 3D reconstruction of the Horse Market, where the main building of the Academy is located. Our artists took the datum and construction grids from the 1588 Braun and Hogenberg depiction of Stettin and recreated the look of the place in the Unreal Engine. Then it was converted to the fulldome format and prepared for playback in the VR Dome placed on the square. The guests entered the dome for 3 minutes, watched a movie, and then the next group was invited inside.

Our artists took the datum and construction grids from the 1588 Braun and Hogenberg depiction of Stettin and recreated the look of the place in the Unreal Engine.

Results 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCxPGGYqyYo

 

360° fulldome for corporate launch – DHL case study

360° fulldome for corporate launch – DHL case study

DHL takes off

It started with a visit to Szczecin. Our friends from DW Group Event Agency showed up to see the thrilling geodesic dome in action at the Freedomes headquarters and watched our previous full 3D VR productions. DHL is launching a new terminal at Warsaw Chopin Airport. We knew the bar was set high. A large corporate event for event guests.

Flight to the future

We had two months to create something unique. Our storyboard team has developed a script from DW GROUP where the entire audience in the dome goes into space and flies the DHL ferry far away to Earth. After the storyboard was approved, production started and we started creating 3D scenes and animations in Unreal Engine. Videos and photos changed hands, and we made changes to the script and scenes until the last minute. Thanks to our real-time workflow, this was possible without long rendering delays.

Result

On a sunny day in early October, the dome was opened to over 400 invited guests, including top DHL management. Our 8-minute animation was projected in 360 ° format on a 900 m2 surface inside the dome. The moderator of the event joked that for the first time he saw so many guests recording a corporate event on their smartphones.

“Our audience, including the top management at the headquarters, was captivated by this production.”

Tomasz Buraś, General Manager DHL EXPRESS

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VR Dome for IBM

VR Dome for IBM

IBM was looking for a creative way to demonstrate the benefits of cloud security. Freedomes supplied the dome and asked us for VR software to power the presentation. IBM had a 360 ° video showcasing their X-Force Command Center, which was perfect for a Virtual Reality dome presentation. It had to be something spectacular – after all, it was CEBIT, one of the largest gatherings of software and hardware vendors in the world. IBM has been there for the last 31 years and that fact alone has put a lot of pressure on our team to make sure we deliver the best possible results.

VR video player

Time was limited (as usual 😉 so we used our VR Dome player, a dedicated fulldome software to play immersive 360 ° high definition videos. Automatically converts from popular screen formats, allows real-time calibration and supports up to 4k resolution. it was marked with an experiment loop option and was displayed inside the Security Dome installed by Freedomes near the entrance to the IBM area.

Results 

The security cloud dome was on display at CEBIT on June 12-15, 2018. It started with a high rating when IBM CEO and President Ginni Rometty visited the facility and we held our breath to hear the verdict. The project was given the green light and the dome served the public for three full days.

 

Immersive History Presentation at MIT HUBweek – Boston Globe case study

Immersive History Presentation at MIT HUBweek – Boston Globe case study

Every October, Boston hosts the MIT HUBweek festival, a collaborative event by MIT, Harvard University, the Boston Globe, and Massachusetts General Hospital. This unique festival serves as a convergence point for researchers, creators, and innovators, offering a platform to explore the fusion of art, technology, science, and social impact. One of the standout attractions at HUBweek was an immersive historical exhibition, which aimed to present the rich history of the Boston Globe newspaper in a captivating and unconventional manner.

The Challenge

The Boston Globe, an iconic American newspaper with roots dating back to the 19th century, faced the challenge of presenting its extensive history in a way that would resonate with modern audiences attending the HUBweek festival. Given the event’s emphasis on innovation and technology, the presentation needed to be engaging and technologically advanced.

The Solution

To address this challenge, the Boston Globe decided to utilize the fulldome format, known for its immersive capabilities. The company turned to Freedomes, a provider of geodesic domes and hardware installation services, to create the physical structure for the immersive experience. The Inphantry Agency was enlisted to create the content, which comprised a stunning video showcasing over a century of newspaper history through significant articles and milestones.

Automated Fulldome Conversion

The tight timeline for the project left little room for manual conversion work. To overcome this, a fulldome video player was employed to automate the conversion of the video content into the fulldome format. This innovative solution streamlined the process and ensured that the historical footage would be seamlessly presented within the immersive dome. The same fulldome video player was responsible for playing the converted video throughout the exhibition.

Immersive Engagement

The immersive dome provided an unparalleled experience for visitors. Attendees could enter the dome and immediately find themselves transported into a virtual space, all without the need for special headphones or additional devices. Over the course of two days, approximately 5,000 visitors had the opportunity to explore the historical milestones of the Boston Globe Foundation. The immersive presentation left a lasting impact on the attendees and garnered significant attention from journalists covering the event.

Media Recognition

The success of this immersive history presentation did not go unnoticed. It received notable mentions in the media and was featured in the MIT HUBweek review. The innovative use of technology to narrate the newspaper’s extensive history left a lasting impression, demonstrating the power of combining art, technology, and storytelling to engage audiences in a unique and meaningful way.