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Learning to save our planet

Apr 18. 2019
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From now until June 2, Singapore ArtScience Museum visitors will be able to explore the forests of Borneo or dive deep into the coastal seas of Southeast Asia with “REWILD Our Planet”, Singapore’s first Social Augmented Reality (AR) experience jointly developed by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Google, Netflix, the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands and PHORIA.

 The sensorial experience connects people to nature and one another through immersive storytelling that blends cutting-edge AR technology with stunning 4K video footage from “Our Planet”, a new Netflix original documentary series voiced by world-renowned naturalist, Sir David Attenborough.

“‘Our Planet’ is the definitive nature documentary event of our time and Netflix’s most ambitious documentary project to date. We are proud to bring great and vital content like this to millions of people worldwide, informing and inspiring them towards taking action for the greater good. With “REWILD Our Planet”, we are taking this one step further by showing how stories can come to life in a way that spurs us all to help improve our environment. We couldn’t be more delighted to do this in concert with amazing partners like WWF, Google, PHORIA and ArtScience Museum of Singapore,” says Jessica Lee, vice president of Communications for Netflix.

“REWILD Our Planet” is built around four natural landscapes representing the last wilderness places on Earth, from the forests of Borneo and India to the oceans of Asia, grasslands of Mongolia and the frozen worlds of the Arctic.

“REWILD Our Planet is an immersive and interactive exhibition that shows how climate change impacts all living creatures. It uses cutting edge technology to transport visitors to some of the world’s most jaw-dropping landscapes. ‘REWILD Our Planet’ follows up on what we did together with WWF and Google with ‘Into the Wild’, our augmented reality experience about rainforests in Southeast Asia. The users of that project have so far planted over 10,000 trees in Sumatra. ‘REWILD Our Planet’ is even more ambitious. It combines art and technology to encourage all of us to play an active role in the conservation of our world,” adds Honor Harger, executive director of the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. 

Combining spectacular IMAX-style projections with spatial soundscapes and AR, the experience unfolds through the lens of the Google Pixel 3, where groups of participants can work together to build natural landscapes in 3D. They will unlock global weather patterns and magical animal encounters, ending with a deeper understanding of shared solutions and a meaningful pledge to act and help bring nature back.

Beyond showcasing the breathtaking diversity of our planet, the experience is also intended to drive important conservation conversations, highlighting the fragility of the planet and the negative impacts of humankind. 

It shows a path forward by pointing to solutions, so participants come away understanding not just the threats that face our planet, but also what must be done collectively, ensuring people and nature can thrive alongside each other.

The experience uses footage from “Our Planet”, an eight-part series that showcases the planet’s most precious species and fragile habitats, revealing amazing sights on Earth in ways they have never been seen using the latest in filming technology. 

The ambitious project was filmed in 50 countries across all the continents of the world, with over 600 members of crew capturing over 3,500 filming days.

Footage from “Our Planet” was then integrated with Google’s ARCore technology - an Android Software Development Kit (SDK) that works with Java and Unity and Unreal, and includes Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that bring AR to mobile devices without requiring any special hardware. PHORIA’s unique digital twin system which, once activated with Google’s ARCore, enables the 2D content to break free from the screen and seamlessly flow into the space around users.

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