The Save Our Seas Foundation’s Shark Education Centre in Kalk Bay, South Africa has been upgrading and adding new exhibits, with an emphasis on creating an experience for visitors that is unique, educational and fun, and the brand new Shark Senses VR exhibit, which uses virtual reality, is part of this. With a wide-ranging audience to consider, but targeting primarily learners aged between eight and 18 years, our intention was to curate an immersive experience that would not only communicate conservation messaging effectively, but also deliver something that was unlike anything the user had ever experienced before.
This specific exhibit was commissioned to enable the user to understand at first hand what it feels like to be a shark in search of its prey and to use all the senses that sharks deploy in their hunts, which are different and more powerful than the senses that people use every day. The redesign process of the education centre is a collaborative project between the Shark Education Centre and interpretation specialists Sunfish Consulting, who have worked with Formula D Interactive on other projects and recommended that we approach them with our idea.
So far, the feedback we have been getting on the Shark Senses VR Exhibit has been wonderful. The exhibit is very different from anything else on offer, anywhere in the world, and this, together with the immersive user experience with its amazing attention to detail, has really impressed everyone who has used it.
Environmental and marine education is changing. Today’s generation of school-goers is both computer-literate and game-savvy and can interact intuitively with the exhibits. We need to take advantage of this and make sure that we are offering cutting-edge interactive displays that engage our visitors and also deliver our messaging. Virtual reality offers such a wonderful opportunity for this: there really is no better way to understand something than to experience it for yourself!
The Save Our Seas Foundation’s Shark Education Centre plans to launch their completed new exhibits to the public during National Marine Week in October 2016. Make sure to check the website and the social media pages to keep updated on this.