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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Holograms, AR and touchscreens: immersive digital experience now greets National Museum visitors

Now, visitors don’t just have to view an inscription of a prehistoric cave, read about it on a display and move on to the next object.

National Museum, National Museum news, Delhi National Museum, Holograms, augmented reality AR, virtual realityAn exhibit at the museum. Express Photo

A visit to the National Museum in the capital feels decidedly different this festive season. India’s largest museum, which showcases more than 2 lakh objects dating back across thousands of years, has quietly leaped to the age of immersive digital technology — a first in the country.

Now, visitors don’t just have to view an inscription of a prehistoric cave, read about it on a display and move on to the next object.

They get a 270-degree digitally-projected experience of actually being in that cave as well as learning about that era, thanks to an augmented reality (AR) projection system.

A 17th-century Ragamala painting, meanwhile, now tells its own story through 3D holograms and transparent organic LED screens with audio, video and animation.

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There are also digital touch-walls in various galleries that prompt visitors to scan and download an app, which becomes a virtual guide that changes depending on where you are in the museum, and which wall or which installation you interact with. The 3D holograms dotting the installations, some even walking alongside the visitor, inform and educate in a way the stolid display write-ups never could.

There is also the Rotoscope, where eight different stories on the Buddha come alive through digitally immersive tools; an interactive digital lotus pond where visitors can “dip their feet”; “flipbooks” where visitors can wave their hands and jump to turn pages and learn new stories of history; and “time travel”, where one can digitally place themselves in any historic age, installation or painting.

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The entire project has been completed at a cost of Rs 5 crore.


“This is the first such experience in a museum in India, and it could also be a first for this part of the world where so many kinds of digital technological interventions has been put in place to augment the museum experience for the visitor,” Subrata Nath, Additional Director General of National Museum told The Indian Express.

The experience is “live” now for visitors after trials started in October, he said.

Indian museums, including the National Museum, have been slow in embracing digital aids, said Nath.


“But the pandemic just forced us to think on these lines and accelerated the digital transition in a big way.”

If and when the National Museum makes way for the redeveloped Central Vista project, the digital apparatus can also be simply unplugged, transported and plugged in again elsewhere, says Himanshu Sabharwal, whose company, Tricolor India Schauspiel, has implemented the digital project over the last five months.

First published on: 15-11-2021 at 05:27:51 am
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