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New VR Experience Lets You Enjoy the Natural History Museum With an Attenborough-Shaped Teacher


If you’re heading to a museum, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy the exhibits. You can meander around the building looking at whatever takes your fancy, get an audio guide to walk you round, tag along with a tour guide, or have David Attenborough himself show you a bit of what’s on offer. Wait, what?

As unlikely as that last one sounds, it’s actually sort of possible thanks to VR and Sky. The naturalist, boat-namesake, and documentary presenter has recorded a VR experience called Hold the World for London’s Natural History Museum. In it he talks you through some of the exhibits inside the former home of Dippy the Dinosaur, including the Blue Whale, various dinosaurs, and various other rare specimens.

But this wasn’t just a case of sitting Sir David down at a table in front of a 360-degree camera to produce a flat image you can sit down and watch. Instead he was filmed by 106 different cameras, with the resulting footage being used to create a realistic 3D hologram of the man himself. It’s also an interactive experience, and not the kind of thing you can load up into a cheap Google Cardboard headset. That also means you have the option of skipping the bits you’re not interested in, and get the chance to interact with the specimens in a way that you just can’t do inside the actual museum.

Hold the World will be available this Spring inside the Natural History Museum itself, or alternatively it can be accessed from the Sky VR app available for Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR, and Oculus Rift. A standalone version for Microsoft Mixed Reality is also on the cards. The whole experience takes between 20 minutes and an hour, so it’s shouldn’t be too hard on those of you prone to VR sickness.

It’s not quite the same as having Attenborough guide you round the entire museum and showing off his biological knowledge, but it’s the next best thing. If you want to learn more about how they beamed David Attenborough into virtual reality, our friends at TechRadar got to talk to the man himself – and it’s well worth a read. [TechRadar]


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