Technology Virtual reality brings dinosaurs to life

Virtual reality brings dinosaurs to life

What did Australian dinosaurs look like and how did they live? The application of virtual reality and 3D printing technology is breathing life into dinosaur fossils.

Dr Ben Horan, Director of Deakin University’s CADET VR Lab, and Dr Kaja Antlej, Industrial Design Lecturer and researcher in digital heritage interpretation, are working to create ‘real life’ educational experiences of dinosaurs in museums.

They have used their technological expertise to show the palaeontological dig site, as well as the physical characteristics of a living Leaellynasaura – a dinosaur species that lived in the Otways region of Victoria around 100 million years ago.

“In the past, when going to a museum, how could people immerse themselves in a dinosaur’s habitat and get a feeling of what it would be like to be one of these creatures? VR can show us elements of a dinosaur’s life that wasn’t previously possible”, Dr Antlej said.

The team visited the dig site to inform their project.

“In the case of the dig, this environment is difficult to access, so we can take this excavation here and take it to people who may not otherwise get the experience,” Dr Horan said.

Dr Antlej said that VR can portray elements of a dinosaur’s life in a way that wasn’t previously possible.

“We are very excited to not only provide visitors with an immersive VR experience, but allow them to touch and play with the dinosaur model,” she said.

The project is a collaboration with Museums Victoria’s Dr Tom Rich; Geelong’s National Wool Museum; and Deakin Honorary Professor and Swinburne University Palaeontologist, Professor Patricia Vickers-Rich.

It demonstrates how new technologies can foster interest in science and historical artefacts.

The outcome of this collaborative project will form part of an exhibition at the National Wool Museum in Geelong later this year.

Read more about the project’s aims here. Story credit: Deakin University newsroom.

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