London’s Natural History Museum has a treat for underwater enthusiasts as it is opens up an exhibit dubbed ‘Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea’ that will enable you to get up close and personal with some spectacular seascapes across the globe by taking 360-degree immersive virtual dive without getting wet. The exhibit will open up on March 27.
The museum will transform a gallery space with a bank of screens to provide the 360-degree view and the sound and light effects will recreate the sensation of being underwater providing an immersive experience.
The exhibit will treat visitors with stunning images of Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef, Tubbataha Reef in the Philippines, Hourglass Reef in Bermuda and Komodo Island in Indonesia. The images of these reefs were taken from the Catlin Seaview Survey, a global scientific study of the world’s coral reefs, wherein divers used specially-designed cameras that record an image every 3-6 seconds. The resulting images are then stitched together to create a panoramic view.
Felicity Paynter, the curator of the exhibition, told the Sunday Telegraph that she hoped guests would leave feeling ‘surprised, amazed and emotional.’
“I had to think about what visitors might already know, what they don’t know and what questions we might be able to answer for them”, she said. “On the one hand, there are lots of very cool, weird and wonderful creatures that live on coral reefs, but there are also some really difficult and abstract concepts.”
The museum will also be opening up a coral reef’s exhibition alongside the virtual dive wherein over 200 specimens such as corals, fish and fossils will be put on display.