Earlier this month, Marine Imaging Technologies, the official partner of National Geographic and BBC, has introduced a technology that enables filmmakers and education centers to create footage of underwater life and deepsea terrain in 8K HD, through the use of a highly sophisticated VR setup.

The system aptly labeled ‘Hydrus VR’, makes use of ten Sony ultra-high sensitivity UMC-S3CA cameras that come equipped with SLR Magic lenses to help viewers explore the ocean in 360 degrees.

Crucial For Education

Since the introduction of the over-hyped Magic Leap in 2016, analysts have expressed their enthusiasm towards the potential of virtual reality and augmented reality (AR) in assisting students and researchers to better understand complex concepts and structures.

The Hydrus VR system is expected to be used extensively by educational institutions and marine biologists, to evaluate the depths of the ocean and observe the organisms present there.

The sensors come equipped with ultra-sensitive Sony cameras that allow the Hydrus VR system to capture underwater footage at a minimum illumination level of 0.004 lux, which makes it possible for researchers to obtain high definition videos even at high depths.

With an ISO that is four times lower than normal systems, the VR system also enables researchers to obtain sounds with higher sensitivity, which is important for marine biologists that study underwater life such as dolphins.

Talking about his company’s latest digital venture, Marine Imaging Technologies founder Evan Kovacs said:

“Cinematic VR is the next step in a continually evolving artistic struggle to not just show people unique underwater landscapes and the stories within them, but to also immerse and transport them in a way that captures their imaginations and senses on all levels. As passionate fans of cinema, we couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities that HYDRUS VR holds for creating immersive stories about and all aspects of our underwater world.”

Schools have already started to integrate virtual reality into their existing educational programs to simplify concepts and assist students in adopting new information with a different perception.

Nick Babich, a developer at Adobe, emphasized that schools are trying to shift away from existing fact retention-based models, which can be inefficient and even damaging to students that do not thrive under fact retention-based programs.

“It’s based on the same old format — fact retention. Teaching methods are focused on providing facts; however, having access to and consuming a lot of information isn’t learning. Being educated isn’t the same as being informed,” Babich said, adding “When students read about something, they often want to experience it. With VR, they aren’t limited to word descriptions or book illustrations; they can explore the topic and see how things are put together.

Final Take

The development of Hydrus VR and submersible virtual reality filming technology is a solid start towards improving the rate of adoption for VR and ARin education. Currently, researchers and commercial VR companies are exploring the usage of VR in more complex areas such as neurosurgery, but only time will tell how these technologies continue to be received in the near future.