back to article Virtual reality below the prehistoric waves: David Attenborough's First Life

One way or another, Sir David Attenborough has been involved in the adoption of many key consumer technologies of recent decades, from the introduction of colour programming as BBC 2 controller, through landmark TV series such as Life on Earth, to the stunning HD of Planet Earth – and 3D nature programming for Sky. It's …

  1. Salamamba
    FAIL

    Why no under 13?

    This is exactly the type of exhibit that my kids would love - except they're both under 13, and so can't see it next time we're up there.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Why no under 13?

      Headset won't fit 5year olds and they don't want to deal with complaints / refunds.

      Too many broken, drooled on headsets if you give them to ankle bitters

      Somebody on mumsnet posts about how they heard that VR screens (although obviously not phones because all 5year olds need an iPhone) can damage the eyes of their precious little offspring and the entire museum is burned to the ground by an enraged populace.

    2. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: Why no under 13?

      As far as I can ascertain, it's a warning from Samsung as creators of the equipment, rather than the museum.

      The US site has this health and safety info, which includes the note

      "Prolonged use should be avoided, as this could negatively impact hand-eye coordination, balance, and multitasking ability."

      Of course, how much of this is based solely on a desire not to be sued, rather than hard science is anyone's guess.

  2. C. P. Cosgrove

    " Good sense of just how far back things are going – and also of how little time, in evolutionary terms, we've been around for."

    Creationists are going to love that bit !

    More seriously, it is a pity that exhibitions like this very seldom leave London. £6.50 is an entirely reasonable price but it bumps it up a bit if you have to add in the cost of a return flight or train from Edinburgh or Glasgow !

    Chris Cosgrove

    1. gerdesj Silver badge

      "More seriously, it is a pity that exhibitions like this very seldom leave London. £6.50 is an entirely reasonable price but it bumps it up a bit if you have to add in the cost of a return flight or train from Edinburgh or Glasgow !"

      Wouldn't it be nice if nationally important exhibitions were held somewhere more accessible to everyone? Now I'm not a massive fan of my proposal, but I think it is close to fair: Birmingham (that's the one in West Mids county, UK and not Alabama, US!)

      OK, does anyone actually know where the UKoGB&NI's population metacentre lies?

      1. graeme leggett Silver badge

        the internet says somewhere in Leicestershire.

        1. Nigel Whitfield.

          So perhaps we could have a national VR centre somewhere around there where everyone can easily go and put on the headsets, and perhaps picnic at Rutland Water afterwards

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Well it is a virtual reality exhibition - not the sort of thing you can just run anywhere

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "Well it is a virtual reality exhibition - not the sort of thing you can just run anywhere"

          <snicker>, exactly!

    2. Nigel Whitfield.

      Yes, it is a shame. As far as I know there aren't any regional offshoots of the NHM, either (unlike, say, the Tate, or the Imperial War Museum).

      It would be an excellent idea, for schools if nothing else, if there were some sort of official scheme where museums around the country could be equipped with this sort of technology and a range of VR presentations, so that schools nearby could book time to see an exhibition that would otherwise be prohibitive for them.

      Full-on experiences like this would be great, but I'm sure it could be useful for other things - for example, a tour round the Tower of London, or Stonehenge as well. Of course there's an initial installation cost, and the creation of the material, but it could probably save a huge amount in terms of bussing kids around the country.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Simply kitting schools out with a basic GearVR setup could achieve all of these things without having to bus anyone anywhere.

        AFAIK this app is coming to GearVR (and most likley OR, Sony's Morpheus & Valve's Vive headsets) at some point anyway, so owning, or having access to, one of those will be enough.

        FWIW - I tried OR and Morpheus at E3, and while there are still some question marks over how the software should be managed (stable 60fps+ framerate especially is something that needs to be vigorously managed as anything under that is insta-nausea), VR is an amazing experience when done correctly, and apps like this one are going to help sell it to a wider audience.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Simply kitting schools out with a basic GearVR setup could achieve all of these things without having to bus anyone anywhere.

          While that's an excellent idea, think about how well tech overall is faring in schools. Broken and stolen equipment. Under utilized. And once it's in, upkeep and maintenance (including patches) are forgot about. Oh.. and it's expensive. A lot of taxpayers would balk at the price of acquisition and upkeep.

          I do agree that there's a lot of potential as a teaching tool. And if the costs of courseware, hardware, and operating costs drop, it will be adopted.

    3. Martin Budden

      In ten years there will be VR headsets in every household and we'll all benefit from exhibits like this one. Keep in mind, it took about three decades for colour telly to take hold properly.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Send it to the U.S. too

    Here, in the U.S., we need continued strong doses of Attenborough's take on natural history, evolution and behavior to counteract the nauseating anthropomorphic drivel, dubious sequential video edits, and just-so explanations of animal behavior that pervades our own Nature series, on our Public Broadcasting System. To someone knowledgeable in the field, his narration and commentaries in his major series are strikingly on-target in what they say, and as important, what they don't say, indicating his, and his collaborators, very sophisticated understanding of the subject matter. That, over and above his appealing voice and presentation, make his works valuable beyond estimate, ones that are sorely needed, and ones that will endure.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Send it to the U.S. too

      Coming soon to Discovery and History channel, a major new wildlife series - "Sharks: Nazis of the Sea"

  4. breakfast
    Mushroom

    Anomalocaris

    Whenever I see a picture of Anomalocaris I am reminded of A Colder War.

  5. Paul Woodhouse

    aye, the NHM is one of the only good things about visiting London, I'd love there to be an offshoot of it appearing up here in the NW... and that exhibition looks ace, tempted to manufacture a reason to visit it...

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