Our mission at OmniScope is experiment with novel methods of science communication. As of right now most of them are focused on using virtual worlds and virtual reality (VR). We believe that at the point of time this technology can improve multiple aspects of science communication:
- Accessibility for students. There are multiple factors that limit accessibility and can be solved by virtual worlds:
- geographical — planetariums are sparse and completely inaccessible from rural areas,
- financial — reduced logistical costs remove the financial constraints for many disadvantaged schools and communities,
- medical — immobile and hospitalized people can access the virtual worlds from anywhere with no physical contact with other people.
- Accessibility for scientists. The reduced logistics time and cost allows them to be more involved in outreach activities.
- Additional media for science communication. By adapting virtual for science communication we create an additional space for science communicators to reach their audience; thus, it creates new ways to generate income.
Distribution of the 360 screens (aka planetariums) across the globe.
Our Projects in XR
Outreach Leactures in VR
As a part of our preliminary study, we created a pilot show in collaboration with the Earth Life Science Institute (ELSI, Tokyo Institute of Technology) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The pilot consisted of a series of lectures presented for the audiences of 10-15 people in the virtual space. The audience and the lecturers were either using Virtual Reality headsets or laptops to share the same virtual space and to interact.
While an awareness of viruses (e.g. seasonal flu, HIV, childhood vaccines) is established in the public, a deeper understanding of underlying biological processes is often lacking. However, the relative simplicity of viruses makes it possible to explain their molecular mechanics in lay terms to the general public. At the same time this simplicity causes a debate whether viruses can be considered as true life forms. Thus, a wide range of fundamental biological and philosophical concepts can be communicated to the public through the subject of viruses.