Leicester Museum Dinosaur Gallery Re-Launch
A multi-projection system designed to passively immerse users as they wander through the gallery space.
The Leicester Museums New Walk Dinosaur Gallery went under a total refurbishment and Maelstrom was contracted to deliver a new underwater experience to museum visitors. One of the primary messages in the gallery is that these prehistoric animals some of which were local to the area were living breathing creatures. The experience would immerse visitors in an underwater scene featuring up to seven Jurassic sea creatures that were shown swimming towards and over the top of people while they looked on in ore giving a realistic sense of scale.
The hardware configuration was designed in-house by Maelstrom and includes 2 projected views and also two other views shown on LCD screens. The two large (2.5m x 3.5m) projected views show the live and immersive underwater scene – one view looks ahead along the ocean floor and other view shows the creatures swim by overhead and through the scene. Both projectors have 1:1 ratio lenses, this means that we can position the projectors very close to the screen allowing for better contrast of image during daylight open times.
The first of the LCD screens is an information screen, this displays interesting creature specific information such as size, diet, habitat and also when they lived. The final screen is an interactive view which has two joysticks for zooming and rotating around the creature on screen at that time – great for getting a closer look at the creatures.
The software is designed to introduce seven different creatures at random intervals. It gives the audience a seamless immersive underwater experience similar to an aquarium tunnel, except these creatures lived over 165 million years ago. The image above shows the creature information screen, this displays the current creature passing through the virtual scene on the overhead projected screens. Also displayed on here is the creatures name, evolutionary, dietary, habitat and scale information.
Working closely with the museum experts including Mark Evans (Curator) we honed the creature animations to be as accurate as possible, this is also true of the underwater environment that the creatures inhabit.
The seven Jurassic creatures that featured in the software were first created in clay by a professional paleoartist, the models were then digitally scanned to ensure 100% accuracy. We then generated the 3D models or skins using the collected data along with digital photography to recreate them in the software.
These creatures are shown below and also the largest one at a massive 9m long Leedsichthys is shown above alongside the Augmented Reality Demo video.
Visitors were welcomed to the Museum with an introductory speech from local hero Sir David Attenborough.
The Dinosaur gallery was opened by both special guests Sir David Attenborough and Leicester Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby.
The opening launch event was a resounding success with a full gallery of visitors enjoying the new and old exhibits on display.