#marketing technology

3D holograms bring North York Moors National Park’s visitor attraction to life

Animmersion UK | User Interface Development | Virtual reality logo

Animmersion has teamed up with the North York Moors National Park to create an immersive, interactive experience as part of a major refurbishment programme at The Moors National Park Centre.

The established Middlesbrough-based immersive solutions company has produced a new tablet-based app alongside a series of holographic 3D animations showcasing landmarks and sites across the National Park.

The animations are helping to catalogue, as well as bring to life, a selection of 3D models produced during the National Park’s Land of Iron project. Visitors can browse the animations that depict the many ruins and surviving structures from the iron mining heritage of the North York Moors.

They will be accessible through a pair of interactive holographic displays, with additional images being added over time.

Animmersion is continuing to work with the National Park’s team to design a number of new immersive visitor attractions to accompany family days out across the moorland and at the upgraded National Park Centre in Danby.

The refurbishment of the National Park Centre is part of the £4m Land of Iron landscape partnership, which is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund along with the David Ross Foundation, North York Moors National Park Authority and other partners.

Through Land of Iron, the partnership is undertaking a programme of preservation and conservation of the main historic ironstone mining and pioneering railway sites within the North York Moors National Park.

Improving the natural habitats has also formed part of the project together with surveying the archaeological and historical heritage of the ironstone landscape, which has been stored as digital assets that Animmersion has used to create the 3D holograms.

This project is part of Animmersion’s growing presence in the heritage, culture and visitor attraction sector. Building on the successful delivery of a revolutionary mixed-reality display, DeepFrame One at the Great Exhibition of the North, and its appearance at the Museums and Heritage Show in London in the spring, the company has seen an increase in enquiries from the sector.

Dominic Lusardi, Owner and Managing Director of Animmersion, said:

“We are proud to be able to transform the information within the digital assets generated by the North York Moors National Park’s team into immersive attractions, which will enhance the visitor experience at Danby.

“This is a great example of how we can apply our expertise for creating immersive experiences from an organisation’s digital information. We have been successfully supporting industry with these solutions, for example bringing to life an underground network of pipelines to support engineer training, and are now applying our approach and technology to the leisure, cultural and heritage sectors.”

Tom Mutton, Land of Iron programme manager at the North York Moors National Park, said:

“The 3D holograms created by Animmersion bring a new, exciting dimension to the visitor experience at Danby. It forms a key part of our refurbishment programme at the centre, which really enhances the Land of Iron project and the stunning North York Moors National Park landscape.”

David Renwick, National Lottery Heritage Fund Area Director North, said:

“Over the past two years, the Land of Iron project has brought together a host of partners across the Park to reconnect people with the beautiful landscape and fascinating stories that make the North York Moors a vibrant place. We are delighted that thanks to National Lottery players the Moors National Park Centre will provide a focus for visitors and local communities to discover the important landscape that surrounds them.”

Wearable skin that lets you touch virtual objects

Animmersion UK | User Interface Development | Virtual reality logo

Researchers from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Northwestern University have created a battery-free, wireless and multi-layered material that allows users to feel vibrations through the skin thanks to sensors, actuators and a chip. Constructed from silicone, the soft-textured skin essentially enables the sense of being touched by someone who isn’t actually there.

Though we are now used to VR and AR providing experiences through visual and auditory stimulation which recreates sounds and visual sights, the other senses have been notoriously difficult to recreate in VR and AR. Because sound and light are wave-based frequencies they can easily be digitised and although augmenting the sense of taste is still in the early stages of research, it has been somewhat successful by using electrical signals.

Touch, however, has proved more difficult to recreate. The researchers behind the project explain that while skin hasn’t yet been widely explored within tech, it can “greatly enhance experiences at a qualitative level, with direct relevance in areas such as communications, entertainment and medicine.”

Developing this innovative technology could enhance medical advances in the future – for example by enabling better prosthetic control through a stronger sense of touch, or ‘touching’ – such as holding hands at a distance. Likewise, it could allow VR gamers to feel strikes and pushes while playing, or ‘touch’ objects within the game.

In addition, Swiss researchers are creating an artificial skin which at 500 nanometers thick is less obtrusive and more sophisticated than existing haptic feedback systems – giving VR gamers a sense-filled experience.

Lead author of the Swiss research paper, Harshal Sonar, says: “The next step will be to develop a fully wearable prototype for applications in rehabilitation and virtual and augmented reality. The prototype will also be tested in neuroscientific studies, where it can be used to stimulate the human body while researchers study dynamic brain activity in magnetic resonance experiments.”

An impressive touch.

How holograms will change the way we work

Animmersion UK | User Interface Development | Virtual reality logo

Developing technology that enables us to share information in a hologram and interact with lifelike avatars is predicted to transform remote working.

As the general workforce becomes increasingly dispersed, emerging virtual communication technologies using avatars, 3D holographic images, VR and AR is set to re-unify it.

Spatial is a new virtual communication app that uses the Microsoft HoloLens 2 headset and allows workers – using avatars or holographic shapes of themselves – to participate in meetings together even when based in different locations.

Teams, using VR and AR, are able to see and interact with 3D images of projects they are working on, and drag and share information such as text and images from devices into a real-time shared holographic space.

Manufacturing and offshore oil and gas firms have been early adopters of technology that uses AR and VR to teleport expert knowledge to locations where it is needed.

Using mixed reality headsets, senior BT field engineers and the University of Essex ran a trial that involved remotely viewing and advising junior colleagues in different engineering tasks providing expertise and reducing response times. Professor Hani Hagras suggested that eventually, a junior engineer could be guided by an artificial intelligence-powered avatar instead of a real-life colleague.

Immerse, a virtual experience platform, with DHL and Shell has created a virtual world where new employees can experience hands-on training in critical situations remotely, creating cost savings and performance tracking benefits.

In the future, sensor-captured data of a person’s body language and facial expressions can be fed into machine learning algorithms to create accurate and lifelike AI-powered holograms, and a consumer trends report by Ericsson found that many respondents expect mixed reality and a full sensory experience in the future.

Advancing technology in the cloud, 5G, AI, interconnectivity, sensors and faster processing means that virtual communication technologies are developing more quickly now than ever before.

VR headsets instead of general anaesthetics?

Animmersion UK | User Interface Development | Virtual reality logo

Doctors in Colorado have helped some patients to get through painful procedures avoiding general anaesthetics by using virtual reality.

Several patients, using VR as a distraction, have been able to undergo mild to moderately painful treatments, not under anaesthetic, which reduces recovery time and the need for medication.

Joe Albietz, medical director at Children’s Hospital Colorado said,

“The human brain has limited bandwidth for what it can pay attention to. The more it is engaged in a VR experience, the less it can perceive the pain signals coming through. If it’s not paying attention to those pain signals, they might as well not exist.”

The technology is being used so that only a local anaesthetic is required when patients face an invasive procedure, for example an endoscopy, lumbar puncture or while dressing limbs. In some cases, no additional anaesthetic is needed at all when the headset is worn.

In another study at Imperial College London, researchers have found that burning pain could be relieved if patients using a VR headset were immersed in scenes of oceans, icescapes and icebergs. The study suggests that besides distracting the brain, VR may also activate the body’s built-in pain-fighting mechanisms, regulating the spread of increased sensitivity to pain.

Immersing audiences in the marine litter challenge.

Animmersion UK | User Interface Development | Virtual reality logo

Augmented reality continues to create unique opportunities to reach audiences and allow people to experience issues in fascinating new ways.

Singapore’s ArtScience Museum Clean Seas augmented reality experience, created by Singapore-based MeshMinds, allows audiences to immerse themselves in the challenge of tackling the marine litter problem by developing a virtual ocean featuring sea creatures made from plastic waste.

It appears that participants spend far longer on augmented reality experiences than they do on viewing static content and engage far more with the issue involved. Obviously, when the subject is as significant as that of plastic consumption, tracking engagement and impact is important.

Kay Vasey, Chief Connecting Officer of MeshMinds has stated that this increased time and engagement translates into people making conscious buying decisions and an intent to change their plastic consumption habits.

So, time spent virtually immersed in an issue can have an effect on consumer behaviour in the real world. Educational activities, programmes and exhibitions that send a clear message about the need to address environmental threats encourages visitors to take action.

Augmented reality continues to create unique opportunities to reach audiences and allow people to experience issues in fascinating new ways.

Singapore’s ArtScience Museum Clean Seas augmented reality experience, created by Singapore-based MeshMinds, allows audiences to immerse themselves in the challenge of tackling the marine litter problem by developing a virtual ocean featuring sea creatures made from plastic waste.

It appears that participants spend far longer on augmented reality experiences than they do on viewing static content and engage far more with the issue involved. Obviously, when the subject is as significant as that of plastic consumption, tracking engagement and impact is important.

Kay Vasey, Chief Connecting Officer of MeshMinds has stated that this increased time and engagement translates into people making conscious buying decisions and an intent to change their plastic consumption habits.

So, time spent virtually immersed in an issue can have an effect on consumer behaviour in the real world. Educational activities, programmes and exhibitions that send a clear message about the need to address environmental threats encourages visitors to take action.

Animmersion helps transport Life Science Centre visitors into the cosmos with new immersive experiences .

Animmersion UK | User Interface Development | Virtual reality logo

Animmersion has teamed up with the Life Science Centre to help visitors explore the universe and experience the application of space science through a collection of interactive and immersive exhibits.

Featured within the ‘Space Zone’ exhibition, Animmersion has produced various interactive exhibits that highlight how space science is helping to address environmental issues on Earth and understand more about our universe.

Animmersion’s engaging interactive experiences are part of a collection of more than 40 exhibits set across five zones covering 500 square metres at the Life Science Centre, including its state-of-the-art digital planetarium. 

The exhibition builds upon a history of engaging the public with space science and the perils that come with journeys to the stars, encouraging interest in the industry and creating exciting and diverse future career opportunities.

Among its exhibits, Animmersion is utilising its visualisation capabilities to highlight the use of satellites in managing ecological challenges, including ‘Fauna Counter’, an interactive game where users identify, count and track penguin populations from a satellite image of Antarctica.

Animmersion has also created a touch-screen experience where visitors role-play as farmers using satellite images to manage their crops and make decisions on how to successfully farm their lands.

Other exhibits include an interactive weather tracker, a projection of the sun to investigate different features of the star and a challenge to construct a menu for a spaceflight to provide provisions for the crew for the length of the mission.

This project is part of Animmersion’s growing presence in the heritage, culture and visitor attraction sector. It builds upon the successful delivery of a range of interactive visitor experiences including the revolutionary mixed-reality display, DeepFrame One at the Great Exhibition of the North, and interactive displays and holograms for the North York Moors National Park’s Land of Iron project.

With a team of talented and experienced designers, artists and software engineers, Middlesbrough-based Animmersion provides a range of immersive solutions using animation, virtual and augmented reality, holograms and interactive displays to create engaging customers experiences.

 Dominic Lusardi, Owner and Managing Director of Animmersion, said: “The North East is emerging as a region with an exciting role to play in the space industry and this exhibition will help inspire interest in the broad and diverse applications of technology and science that are truly out of this world!

“This project is a great example of how we can apply our expertise in the visualisation of information that creates fun and engaging immersive experiences.  They are brilliant tools to encourage interaction and spark interest and these fun science-based exhibits provide visitors to the Life Science Centre with an enjoyable experience that will inform and educate.”

 Sarah de Launey, exhibition developer at Life Science Centre, said: “Only the lucky few will ever get to go to space, but with the help of companies like Animmersion, we have brought space down to Earth. In Space Zone, visitors can experience for themselves the surprising applications of modern space science and what it’s like to explore the universe.”