Virtual reality (VR) studio Wevr has announced a collaboration with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles (NHMLA) to exhibit theBlu: An Underwater VR Experience, a specially curated cut of multi-award-winning VR series, theBlu.
theBlu: An Underwater VR Experience, directed by Jake Rowell (Call of Duty, Final Fantasy, Superman Returns), is a unique 6-minute presentation for NHMLA visitors, highlighting three environments. They’ll be able to encounter a 80-foot blue whale as it swims past a sunken ship; an undersea migration on the edge of a shallow coral reef, with turtles and swarms of jellyfish gliding by; and a deep dive into an abyss, where hidden creatures including angler fish and squid appear with the use of a virtual flashlight.
“The museum has integrated technology and multi-media into our newer exhibits and is now exploring ways to enhance digital engagement with the natural world. This iconic deep dive VR experience from Wevr brings us to a new level of interactivity—and our visitors come along for the ride,” said Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga, NHMLA Director and President. “Engaging and inspiring visitors is what we do—and theBlu: An Underwater VR Experience is beautiful, powerful storytelling. It would not surprise me if the next generation of marine biologists—and VR developers—are inspired by this exhibit.”
“Here’s what it’s like, from someone who has done a lot of SCUBA diving: It’s fantastic to see all those underwater creatures, and not be underwater and cold—especially the deep-sea chapter, where you couldn’t even dive in real life,” says Dr. Chris Thacker, NHMLA Fish Curator. “Users get an up-close look at the animals, particularly the whale and the turtle, and interact with jellyfish and see how they respond. The experience is scientifically accurate and does a good job of replicating what it’s like underwater, all while you’re just standing there, warm and dry.”
Before starting the experience visitors are acclimated to the technology amid glowing NHMLA ocean specimens on display and projections of reef footage. They’re then led into five “pods” in the gallery, each containing a HTC Vive headset. For friends and families, a seating area is located nearby, where they can watch the action on a monitor.
theBlu: An Underwater VR Experience will be open to NHMLA attendees from 6th March – 28th April, advanced timed-tickets can be purchased online, at NHM.org.
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