David Attenborough's virtual reality experiences come to the Australian Museum!

A lot of people are getting excited about VR, and rightly so. With the first wave of consumer grade headsets hitting shelves, after much waiting it looks like 2016 will finally be the year of VR. With all this VR hype being thrown at us by the gaming industry it's easy to forget about all the other exciting applications this new technology has to offer, such as educational applications.

This is where David Attenborough, the man that introduced so many of us to the wonders of the natural world, comes in. The world famous naturalist, who turns 90 this year, has teamed up with Alchemy VR to create two breathtaking VR experiences, which is pretty amazing considering I am yet to convince my grandfather to touch a computer. 

'David Attenborough's Great Barrier Reef Dive VR' and 'David Attenborough's first life VR' represent the fruits of this collaboration and from the 8th of April they will be available for the public to see at the Australian Museum. 
David Attenborough's Great Barrier Reef Dive VR uses real-world footage and a host of pioneering technologies to shed new light on this magnificent habitat. Visitors will take a 360-degree, virtual reality tour beneath the waves, with Attenborough as a personal guide through the vibrant corals, darting fish and deadly sharks in the great natural wonder of the world. In a state-of-the-art submersible, Attenborough guides us through a wonderland, which has over 3000 reef systems and forms one of the most important natural resources on Earth. It as an extraordinary opportunity to come face to face with the incredible diversity and abundance of the Great Barrier Reef, and see how researchers are using historic corals, predicting how the reef will react to environmental changes.

In  David Attenborough's First Life VR, visitors travel back 540 million years as Attenborough reveals the dawn of life on Earth and introduces you to its earliest inhabitants, exploring ancient oceans and interacting with extinct sea creatures. Long-extinct animals such as the whimsically built Opabinia, the fearsome looking Anomalocaris and the spiny, worm-like Hallucigenia will be brought vividly alive in a fully immersive CG VR experience. 

I was lucky enough to see both of these VR experiences last night and was blown away; it was just like stepping into one of Attenborough's documentaries. Both experiences use the new technology to great effect, encouraging the viewer to look in all directions and revel in the spectacle of the natural world. 

Although at times thrilling, it should be made clear that both experiences are primarily educational so if your looking for a thrill a minute VR experience akin to a roller-coaster ride, you won't find that here. What you will find is an engaging and insightful documentary experience. Plus if you are like me and have felt queasy using this tech in the past, you will be relived to know that the experience didn't effect my stomach at all. 

Having grown up loving Attenborough's documentaries, being able to witness this next step in the evolution of the genre was a real treat. I really can't recommend this experience enough and urge you to get over to the Australian Museum to check it out!

Tickets are available now through Ticketek

- Christof


  1. Wow Christof, you're easily impressed. I paid to see First Life and came away disappointed. Firstly, although the museum alotts 45 minutes for each showing, the actual VR experience is no more than 10 minutes. The whole audience was dumbstruck when it was suddenly over. Secondly, the VR viewing screen was quite low resolution. It was a very pixelated picture, much worse than your average cell phone. Finally, it was expensive.

    I'd recommend skipping the whole thing, saving a load of money, and waiting until you can see it on a hi-def TV for free.


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