29 Jun 2020

USA: Brevard Zoo Launches New AR Edutainment Experience

Visitors to Brevard Zoo, which is located in Melbourne, Florida, now have the opportunity to enjoy a new AR experience, dedicated to one of natures spectacular – the seasonal flooding of the South American rainforest and how the Pacu fish plays a pivotal role in maintaining the health of the ecosystem. Falcon’s Creative Group was commissioned to develop the AR experience especially for the zoo’s “Rainforest Revealed“ exhibition. “We chose to create an AR experience for this particular exhibit because we wanted to tell the story of why the flooded forest is so important. Now visitors can better understand the whole process that is so vital for this ecosystem,” explains Andrea Hill, marketing and communications director at Brevard Zoo.

The rainforest habitat will be filled with water, while guests can watch the basin flooding over a screen. Visitors will see the whole process as animated Pacus will begin to consume the seed falling into the water, which they digest and once the water returns to normal level grow into new vegetation. A presenter freely moves a tablet PC to change perspectives of fully dimensional content and controls the timing of all events as well, creating an individual experience for each group. “It was important to us that the experience could be adaptively controlled so that each presenter can add their own personal touch. […],“ adds Jason Ambler, Vice President of Digital Media at Falcon’s. The AR experience was developed utilizing the Unity game engine that communicates with HTC Vive trackers and Lighthouse 2.0 cameras to generate 3D tracking data. The pass-through AR system integrates the real-time virtual content with a live video feed captured from a wireless tablet PC.  The AR experience from the tablet is then wirelessly cast to a large external monitor and speaker system. To make the experience even more real, it also includes real-time sound effects. (eap)