Tech News: Do You Want to Experience Virtual Reality Underwater?

Posted: 03/20/17 04:58AM EDT

Visitors to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles (NHMLA) can now immerse themselves in spectacular ocean environments alongside a bevy of sea creatures with a new virtual-reality exhibit.

Curators and administrators at the NHMLA worked closely with designers from the VR firm Wevr to craft a three-episode encounter the museum's first VR experience within specially designed spaces.

Before embarking on the virtual tour, participants enter an area in the museum with real marine specimens on display, which provides a visual introduction to the underwater experience. A dive master assigned to each user helps to prepare those who are unfamiliar with VR technology.

According to Live Science using handheld controllers, visitors can interact with migrating fish and turtles, vibrant anemones, glowing deep-sea anglerfish, and even an 80-foot-long blue whale Coming face-to-face with an 80-foot blue whale is pretty special and unique. Moreover, you can only get the scale of a marine creature that large by either being next to it in the ocean or being in virtual reality.

Jake Rowell, director of "The Blu," told Live Science in an email that, "Producing captivating VR content requires the artful combination of many elements, including visuals, audio, and interactivity on both large and small scales, enveloping the people holding the controllers and allowing them to feel a sense of presence within the world they inhabit in virtual space."

"The Blu: An Underwater VR Experience" is on display at the NHMLA until April 28.

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