An Augmented View of the Stars

An observatory in Quebec, Canada is turning to immersive technology in order to give visitors a unique and enhanced view of the night sky by utilising augmented reality (AR) at its newly opened open-air AR planetarium, the ObservEtoiles.

The new planetarium can seat up to 190 guests in a mountain side amphitheatre which has been specially built for ObservEtoiles which has heated seats so that visitors can enjoy the show at any temperature while engaged with the AR-enhanced view of the sky.

Guests will be equipped with an AR headset from Aryzon, which will allow visitors to see the night sky, with a digital overlay that will show constellations along with the names of stars and other interesting information.

Aryzon launched its cardboard AR headset in 2017 with the aim of reducing the cost of entry to users who wish to enjoy AR content without the investment costs of high-end AR and mixed reality (MR) headsets like the Microsoft HoloLens.

The software for the AR experience is being provided by UK-based company Escapist Games, the creators of popular AR app Star Chart. Escapist Games have created a special version of its software for use by ObservEtoiles.

The AR experience is powered by the Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom, which uses its HD AMOLED display to provide a view of the night sky, over which guests will be able to see 17th Century illustrations of the sky, overlaid across the real stars and planets in a way that will not obstruct the view.

Further information will be provided to visitors by audio narration, with a voiceover recorded by Andrew Fazekas. The content for the app will be regularly updates so repeated visitors can get a new experience.

Further information about ObservEtoiles, including a special presentation video, can be found at the official website. For future coverage of new an innovative uses for AR technology, keep checking back with VRFocus.