Museum brings extinct creatures to life before your eyes

30 November 2010

For the first time ever, you can bring a dinosaur and an early human to life before your eyes with the totally unique, state-of-the-art interactive film Who do you think you really are?, now on show in the Attenborough Studio at the Natural History Museum.

Guided by Sir David Attenborough, Who do you think you really are? uses 3 independent screens, web cams and specially designed handheld devices that allow you to take part in a virtual journey back through your evolutionary past to where extinct creatures will appear to roam around you in the studio. 

The interactive film uses a mix of CGI models developed with support of the Wellcome Trust, BBC natural history footage and interviews with leading Natural History Museum scientists to explore how we have gradually evolved from the earliest life form. 

Thanks to an innovative partnership with BBC Research & Development, this is the first time augmented reality - the blending of computer graphics into real life – is being used in a high profile public space in this way.

Sir David Attenborough says, ‘Who do you think you really are? features completely unique film making technology to tell the story of how we evolved from the simplest living creatures, and how we share our DNA with a huge variety of life. 

'It is my hope that through this exciting and innovative film we can continue to inspire the next generation to take a step towards securing our planet’s future.’

During the film you will discover how we are related to dinosaurs, early humans and even bananas by using the unique handset to send images to screens around the studio, interact with Museum scientists, play with virtual specimens and take part in quizzes. 

These handsets are windows into the past. Augmented reality allows computer generated images of Coelophysis, Homo erectus and an intricate tree of life to appear as if they are in the studio with you. They can be followed around, highlighting a unique life-like presence in the studio.

During the film scientists also give you virtual gifts. At home you can sign in to to access gifts and a rich resource of additional information, including augmented reality clips and forums discussing Who do you think you really are?

Who do you think you really are? is shown in the Attenborough Studio where innovative technology, Museum specimens, live animals, spectacular natural history film footage and Museum scientists come together to create an inspiring programme of free daily films and live events.

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