Innovation numero dos. Virtual reality, a popular way to interact with an environment that seems real through electronic equipment like goggles.
See our blog about augmented reality for more information about museum trends in 2018. You can check back each week as we highlight more museum trends that we think are important.
2: Virtual Reality (VR)
In the past few years, inventions like Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear and even Google Cardboard have lowered the financial barriers to entry into the VR space. On top of this, the cost to produce VR content has shrunk as well. For example, check out the NY Times 360 video of the day in the NYT VR app. (While you’re there, let us recommend: Behind the Scenes at the American Museum of Natural History)
How museums are using Virtual Reality
Last year, the Los Angeles Natural History museum made a (dad joke alert) big splash when they hosted theBlu, a 6-minute pseudo-underwater VR expedition. During its run, this experience let visitors ‘swim’ with whales, jellyfish and other sea creatures through sunken ships and coral reefs, without any of the claustrophobia that comes from not being able to breathe air like a normal, above-water person.
The virtual realty experience was created by Wevr, a VR content organization, and added to the LA Natural History Museum lineup as a temporary exhibition. Other museums interested in VR could pursue a similar partnership/licensing approach with a VR content provider.
Or, consider becoming a your own VR content producer: with releases by GoPro and Samsung, among others, the 360 video camera market has gotten significantly more affordable. With these tools, museums could produce and share exhibit previews or behind-the-scenes looks that will keep them top of mind with potential patrons and even increase visitorship.
One additional note on high-tech museum trends
For groups that are considering a VR/AR/AI or other high-tech venture, consider utilizing a portion of the exhibit to spark interest in STEM fields among young visitors. You see, Flonomics is a technology company, so getting kids interested in STEM is something we’re passionate about, and it wouldn’t be hard to pull off: if you have any high-tech exhibits, consider a small demonstration or display (hands-on if possible!) that describes how the exhibit was created. Such an effort would hopefully help pave the way for future generations of geeks like us, and we’d be just fine with that
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