The "Wildlife Experience" Virtual Reality experience was created as part of Philippa Behnke's Bachelor Thesis with the support and mentorship of weltfern as future tech studio. Ingmar Konnow, CDO & CTO of weltfern, provided mentorship for the XR experience design, while the development was supported by the studio. The app was built using Unreal Engine, a game engine that provides tools for developing XR applications. Furthermore OpenXR was used as the development API, which allows for the creation of applications that work across different XR platforms and devices.
The "Wildlife Experience" VR app allows users to dive into the world of the whale and explore the entire body of the mammal, from the surface to the ocean floor. Users can interact with the environment, learn about the whale's behaviors and anatomy, and grab objects to figure out how the important organs of the mammal work. The app's design principles focus on creating an intuitive and engaging experience for users, allowing them to gain a better understanding of marine life and the impact of climate change on the ecosystem.
The app's creation demonstrates the potential of XR technology to revolutionize education by providing students with immersive and interactive learning experiences. As XR technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see more applications that push the boundaries of what is possible in education and beyond.
Interview with Philippa Behnke: Creator of "Wildlife Experience" Virtual Reality Experience
Philippa Behnke is a recent graduate who created the "Wildlife Experience" VR app as part of her Bachelor Thesis. With the help and support of weltfern, she was able to bring her vision to life. The app allows users to swim in the world of the whale, explore their organs and learn about the mammal in an immersive way. In this interview, we talk to Philippa about her inspiration, the XR technology, and her experience in designing an XR application.
Inspiration behind "Wildlife Experience" - a Virtual Reality Experience
- Q: What inspired you to create the "Wildlife Experience" VR app?
- A: The motivation to create a VR application came on the one hand from my studies at the TH Lübeck and on the other hand from my internship, which I also completed at weltfern which gave me first insights into the development of VR applications. With the application I wanted to address a topic, which I am personally interested in and so I came up with the idea to implement something in the field of nature conservation and animal welfare. I therefore researched the topic of animal welfare in zoos and aquariums and became aware of orcas, whose keeping is strongly criticized. With VR, I saw the potential to visualize immersive environments and to create a fascinating experience. With the VR application, users should have the opportunity to experience animals up close, even without visiting a zoo or aquarium.
XR Experience Design
- Q: Can you talk about your experience in designing the XR experience for "Wildlife Experience"?
- A: The bachelor thesis was the first project I implemented for VR. I wanted the users to have the feeling of experiencing an orca up close. I also wanted the application to be intuitive so that users feel like they are part of the virtual environment. I created some assets myself, such as the orca, but especially for the design of the environment I also used already existing assets.
- Q: What design principles did you follow while creating the XR experience?
- A: In order to design an immersive application, emphasis was put on making elements aesthetically pleasing. A realistic environment should give users the feeling that they are really in the virtual environment. When presenting information, attention was paid to using clearly understandable audio content and displaying visual content in a way that is easy to read. The interaction options were also designed to be clear and distinct to ensure easy navigation and use.
UX / UI Design - Virtual Reality Experience
Interactive Elements and UX-Pattern
Future of XR in Education
- Q: How do you think XR technology can impact education?
- A: I think that XR technologies have great potential in the field of education. Both in a private environment and for educational institutions such as schools, but also museums. XR allows you to experience things that would not be possible in reality. In my opinion, going beyond the limits and experiencing things that are actually impossible can awaken interest in topics and create fun learning experiences.
- Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to create an XR application?
- A: It really helped me to develop a concept in advance. By structuring my own thoughts and ideas, I had a better overview of the whole project. Creating concept art also helped me to visualize ideas and thus get an idea of how the application should look later on, even before the actual development. However, you shouldn't be discouraged if things don't work as you expected them to, especially if you have little or no experience, you have to experiment a lot. You should also not be afraid to ask people with more experience for help. Even if you don't have anyone in your immediate circle, there are many ways to get help online via tutorials or forums.
- Q: Do you have future plans for the project?
- A: If there is a possibility, I would like to continue working on the project. There are, I think, still many possibilities to make the application even more interactive to create an even better experience - I still have quite a few ideas. The application was also created with the idea of providing information about multiple animals. I think there are many more exciting animals to learn about besides orcas.
An excellent example of an educational virtual reality experience
Philippa's "Wildlife Experience" app is an excellent example of how XR technology can be used to provide an immersive and educational experience. As XR technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see more applications that push the boundaries of what is possible in education and beyond. The app's focus on user experience and intuitive design demonstrates the importance of putting the user at the center of the design process.
Moreover, the "Wildlife Experience" app presents exciting opportunities for XR technology in various fields such as education, tourism, marketing, and entertainment. In education, the app can provide students with immersive and interactive learning experiences that enhance their understanding of marine life and the impact of climate change on ecosystems. For tourism, the app can be used to create immersive experiences that allow users to explore different ecosystems and promote ecotourism. In the entertainment industry, the app could be used to create immersive and interactive experiences for viewers, pushing the boundaries of traditional storytelling.
In conclusion, the "Wildlife Experience" VR app is a promising example of the potential of XR technology and its future applications in various fields. With the continued development of XR technology, we can expect to see more innovative and creative applications that leverage the power of immersive and interactive experiences.