Four Seasons Video
As part of the purpleSTARS work, we have been exploring virtual and augmented reality technologies. We have been trying out new experiences, designing new virtual reality exhibits for museums, and thinking about how we can make them inclusive.
Exploring Virtual and Augmented Reality
We have been looking at different examples of augmented and virtual technologies. We have tried out some apps which use VR like The Turning Forest and BBC Earth: Life in VR as well as augmented reality apps like BBC: Civilisations and WWF: Free Rivers. I am always looking for new apps and experiences to try out as a group so that we have a good knowledge of what is out there and what is possible.
Designing the Forest Experience
As part of the purpleSTARS project, we have been exploring our ideas for virtual reality exhibits. It all started when we were working at the Museum of English Rural Life in Reading. One of their exhibits that we were exploring was an animation about the four seasons which visitors see near the entrance to the museum.
The animation of the four seasons, as seen by in the Museum of English Rural Life
The purpleSTARS really liked the video and the museum gave us a copy of the video so we could look at it in more detail. We thought it could be good if the video could be made into virtual reality. This would be more immersive.
So, starting with this animation as our inspiration, we asked our purpleSTAR virtual reality expert, Lee Kent, to make a prototype for us to explore our ideas. Lee started by putting the original animation into a virtual forest that he created which goes through all the seasons. This made the experience a bit like a cinema in the forest.
The virtual reality forest has flowers that bloom in the spring, snow in the winter, leaves that fall in the summer, rain, clouds, and it transitions from day to night. The group tried it out the virtual reality on a Google Daydream headset. Everyone mentioned how comfy it was! We talked about how it felt to be in the experience. Everyone liked the rain and the snow and the leaves which fell in Autumn. We also thought about what else we we'd like to see in the forest like butterflies, mushrooms, and hedgehogs.
Comments from the purpleSTARS about the virtual reality forest experience.
We then built on these ideas.