Bringing history to VR world

Age: 35
Occupation: History researcher
Name: Hamilton Dias
A Quote: Knowing the past, to plan the future
2–3 sentences describing what motivates them
- know the cities history and people
- predict how technology will impact people’s life
Their experience level with VR: Basic

Hamilton’s idea is to use a VR experience to teach people about the cities they are living in. He worked in partnership with a digital studio to develop an Historical VR Experience, that can be played in a given city of the world. Let’s take São Paulo city as our main example. We’ll put a cabinet in the sidewalk of the biggest and crowded avenue of city: Avenida Paulista.

The user sits down in a couch inside the cabinet, and put the HMD and headphones on. He’ll see the same Avenida Paulista, with a lot of cars, buildings and hurry people. After some time viewing this, the time will play backwards, jumping to the point of view of Avenida Paulista, but in the 80’s. People dressing differently, older cars, less buildings. So the time continues to play backwards, revealing the same city in the 60’s, 40’s and the 1900’s, showing the avenue with beautiful and huge mansions, carriages, horses, tree’s. Now he can even see the horizon, the mountains, can hear the wind, the birds… So the time start’s flowing to the present, passing by 40’s, 60’s, 80’s and the present time.

How accessible would each VR platform be to your target student in terms of price? Take into account location, age, and income.

As we’ll build this experience for popular use, it doesn’t need a huge budget. A good VR notebook, a HTC Vive or Rift, and a good partnership with a digital studio to develop the experience. This could be funded by the government or some foundation.

How interactive does your lesson need to be? For example, do I need to pick things up or could I get away with just looking at objects?

We can add some interactive objects to be played using the controls and gaze point of view.

How realistic do your visuals need to be in order to teach? For example, could I use 2D images and videos in a 3D Environment or do you need high poly 3D models.

We need fully 3d scenes, with a lot of details and a lot of historical research.

Does my student need to feel like a participant in the experience or can they be a passive viewer? Could they be both?

The experience will be mostly passive, but we can add some interactions to make the experience more intense and educational.

Given the answers above, what are potential platforms you could use for your experience?

We’ll need HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, and to reach a good realistic experience, we’ll develop using Unreal Engine.