Attractions industry news

23 Apr 2019

Stephen Hawking VR tour of the universe will launch in 2020 and go worldwide

An immersive experience for museums which takes people on a 20-minute virtual reality tour of the universe, and is narrated by the late Professor Stephen Hawking, is due to launch next year.

The project was a collaboration between Hawking and Atlantic Productions, the company behind a number of award-winning productions, including numerous David Attenborough documentaries among other projects.

Atlantic Productions was founded by former BBC documentary maker Anthony Geffen in 1992, and has since gone on to produce stunning works of art for television, the big screen and the museum sector, using cutting edge immersive technologies in its storytelling.

Speaking to Attractions Management, Geffen revealed that the Stephen Hawking VR project will be delivered through a series of pop-ups across Britain early in 2020, before being distributed to museums worldwide.

"Before his death, Stephen recorded the narration of his journey," said Geffen, speaking to Attractions Manageent. "In this experience, he's going to take you through space, sharing his thoughts as you explore. To me, that's extraordinary. It's like being able to get into Da Vinci's head.

"Once you're immersed in the experience, you'll feel like you're flying through space and can actually choose where you want to go. This whole thing is from Hawking's mind and it's incredibly exciting."

Geffen also predicted that immersive storytelling will have a big part to play in the future for the museum sector as a way to create "life-changing experiences". It will not matter if it is VR or AR or some other reality, he says. People will just want the experience to be entertaining.

Geffen and Atlantic have worked recently on a project with the Field Museum in Chicago, US, where virtual reality screens were erected next to a real Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. "The narrative of the experience is something that immerses you, both in the bones and in the story at the same time," he said, adding that museums are a very important medium for his company, setting a challenge to take content to a younger audience in a more interactive way.

To read the full article see the Issue 1 2019 edition of Attractions Management here.

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