Create an immersive experience showcasing future educational uses of technology, striking a careful balance between what is just about possible now but likely will be mainstream in 10 years time, without suggesting there is cause for concern among the audience viewers, many of whom would be directly affected by advances and introduction of devices within their sector.
For their annual education event, DigiFest, JISC wanted to create an interactive, immersive narrative experience taking their attendee audience viewers through a day in the life of a student 10 years from now, in their event-wide branded piece “Natalie 4.0”. The experience had to be simple to operate, from a booth assistant perspective, and easy to use, from an audience perspective, whilst utilising current immersive technologies at scale.
The project revolved around a 360° film short, with a branching narrative Bandersnatch-style, whilst encompassing a virtual augmented overlay within the Oculus Go VR headset, to provide the audiences with an interactive viewpoint from in the shoes of Natalie (4.0), student of the future, as if they were living a day in her life.
Make Real partnered up with leading 360° film specialists The Fred Company, to create the narrative and inclusion of appropriate technologies to deliver a meaningful narrative that was relevant & realistic, whilst not suggesting that humans will be replaced nor no longer needed within 10 years time in the education sector.
This saw Natalie waking up and putting on her AR smart glasses to receive daily notifications related to her coursework and deadlines. Upon rising, she carries out some homestudy and has a choice of either a virtual fieldtrip or a collaborative learning session, whilst avoiding the interruptions from her dog, Fred, in the real world. Going to university after checking in with her tutor via volumetric holographic projection, she meets her tutor again in the real world to follow up on the discussion, whilst being assisted with augmented reference materials within her vision.
The 360° film footage was then taken into a mobile VR Unity application to incorporate the AR overlay element and the logic for the branching narrative interactions. The final app was then deployed to Oculus Go VR headsets and the additional high-resolution 360° video files sideloaded to bypass the maximum APK filesize limitations that would have resulted in lower quality video.
Overall the design was created around ease of operation for the event booth assistants so that the application could be easily restarted or resumed at any point depending upon how long each attendee audience viewer was in the experience, no matter whether they reached the end of the narrative.
The main JISC DigiFest event was held at Birmingham ICC over two days and, with 15 headsets available on the booth for attendees to try, there was a consistent queue of eager want-to-be audience members waiting for their turn, with plenty of positive, constructive discussion going on after viewing.
We’re always happy to talk to you about how immersive technologies can engage your employees and customers. If you have a learning objective in mind, or simply want to know more about emerging technologies like VR, AR, or AI, send us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.