Educational virtual reality (VR) is important. It’s an opportunity to provide reform where there has arguably been little acceptance of technology for over a decade, and realising this there are already a number of companies creating products that they hope will meet the demand. One such company is Unimersiv, who have not just created an educational VR experience but a platform through which to share multiple products.
The Unimersiv platform itself is a website through which content can be downloaded in a similar fashion to Oculus VR’s own Oculus Share and many other websites, though here it is limited to educational content. All content submitted to Unimersiv is curated to ensure that it is in fact an educational experience and is suitable for all ages. Unimersiv goes one stage further than most rivals in the VR space by offering premium content, the first of which is the recently launched VR Dinos.
Developed in-house at Unimersive, VR Dinos is a walkthrough experience that takes the user to a world still inhabited by prehistoric creatures. A small number of dinosaurs are currently present and each is isolated in their habitat – there’s no chance of being caught in the middle of a bloodbath here in VR Dinos – and are modelled on the most recent of scientific discoveries. Size, weight and animation are all relative, and the sense of scale is impressive.
There is no interaction in VR Dinos: it’s simply a walkthrough experience that offers the dinosaur models, environments and an Unimersiv icon that triggers a short but informative text panel. The signposting as to which direction the user should travel is a little under developed at present, but there remains joy to be found in wandering through the environment, which is a wonder as to why such information panels haven’t been offered for flora and fauna also. The finale of VR Dinos is the highlight – an opportunity to control the flight of a Quetzacoaltus throughout the world map – and should Unimersiv further develop this aspect of the experience it’s likely to maintain long term appeal.
VR Dinos‘ huge landmass is impressive, but much of it empty wilderness. There’s a great opportunity for Unimersiv to utilise this dead space and increase learning opportunities with subtle gamification and interactivity; for example, adding a bone collection challenge or egg gathering and returning to a nest in order to access an additional dinosaur species. A small addition such as this would incentivise the user to spend more time in the world of VR Dinos and perhaps return after the initial playthrough, which once experienced offers little reason to revisit.
As Unimersiv’s first piece of premium content, VR Dino‘s is an interesting insight into the potential of the platform. The price tag (currently set at $10 USD) seems a little high for just one unique experience, but Unimersiv is committed to bringing many more to the platform. The speed and regularity at which they shall manage to do so will ultimately be the determining factor in Unimersiv’s success, but VR Dino‘s certainly suggests there’s value in this proposition.