VR Final Project – Yellow Submarine

Hi there!

For my final project, I decided to create an underwater Virtual Reality space dedicated to the Sixties*, a decade that was marked by change and that shaped so much of our society. The conflicts, hope, the anger, the music, the dance crazes and the most important events and wonders that characterized those years are shared with visitors in an innovative and unique way.

The Beatles iconic album “Yellow Submarine” serves as an inspiration to create a virtual submarine that sets the stage for this experience.

Why is it?
This space exists for us to always remember and to understand the things that happened in the sixties. The good and the bad things that show us who we were and who we are. That our history matters, that people united have power, as much as they are responsible to shape the future. That there is good and evil in all of us and that everything is connected.

Why is it done in VR?
Virtual Reality was chosen as the platform for this museum for a few reasons. First, the technology has the power to transport people to places that are impossible to get to. To be inside the Yellow Submarine and to travel back in time are core concepts of this museum. Virtual Reality not only is the most viable way do this, but it also allows a larger audience to experience it. This digital platform also allows us to create a space where anything could happen, where the possibilities are endless and where there is no need to be attached to the reality that is given to us.

Where is it?
In the real world, a physical installation sets up the stage. The VR headset is transformed into a submarine periscope. But this time, it will be used to see the inside of it, not outside. The body of the periscope is the Virtual Reality headset:

Who is it for?
The museum has two targeted main audiences:
1 – People who lived the Sixties and can feel connected to the museum because they were part of this. The goal is for this audience, is to remember, to connect through memory.
2 – Younger people who were born after the Sixties. To educate, take people back in time and show them what happened through an immersive and interactive experience.
Though this is not the main point, Beatlemaniacs may also be a secondary audience, for there are many references to the band in the experience.

Once users approach the headset, they will be transported inside of the Yellow Submarine, where they will be part of a psychedelic world, filled with colors and music. There are four hatches on each side of the submarine. If the user chooses to move close to one of them, they can see what is outside, which is different scenes of famous events, people or movements that marked the decade. These are:
– Youth peaceful protests
– The hippies
– Woodstock
– Martin Luther King Jr in DC
– Black and White marching together
– Peace and Love
– Man landing on the moon
– Women burning their bras

4 – There is also a digital periscope in the middle of the submarine. If the visitors chooses to look through it, they will be prompted with a question: “Are you ready to see what is above the surface? Once you do it, there is no way to stop this experience.”

5 – If they choose to see the outside world, what is above the water they will face a reality that is not so nice. There, scenes of events that represent the horrible things that were happening at that time fill the 360 space gradually. The events being portrayed are:
– The Vietnam War
– The Cold War
– Racism
– Sexism
– Violence
– Bombings

This is an equirectangular video of what is shown above the water:

There is a reason why visitors cannot choose to go back inside the submarine once they decide to see what is above the surface. The experience outside is supposed to be uncomfortable both visually and in terms of sound. The soundtrack there is part of The Beatles song “A day in the life” and it keeps building up in an intense and chaotic rhythm until, after 30 seconds, it stops. That is when it all fades to white and visitors are transported back inside the submarine.

Technology: I have used the Oculus Rift for this project but because I want to create a physical installation with it, the DK2 (the old Oculus) will serve me better. For now, I am trying to use an Arduino Leonardo to make a button work as the mouse click and I will use Bluetooth headphones for the audio.

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