Rediscovering Vrouw Maria

Interactive 3D Virtual Reality Simulation


Project Description

Rediscovering Vrouw Maria is an interactive, real-time, virtual reality simulation of the Vrouw Maria underwater archeaological site. Created as part of the Spoil of Riches exhibition, the simulation is in the permanent collection of the Maritime Museum of Finland located in the grand Maritime Centre Vellamo in Kotka.

The Vrouw Maria was a Dutch trader ship in the 18th century which sank off the coast of Finland. With the help of the easy-to-use The Re-discovering Vrouw Maria simulation, anyone can now gain the experience of visiting the wreck.

The simulation makes use of a new gesture-based interface where the user controls the device by moving his or her arm. The visitors have a choice between a pre-recorded presentation of the wreck or navigating freely in the virtual reality of the underwater landscape thus exploring selected parts of the wreck. The information spots within the virtual environment provide the visitor with additional data on the wreck and the landscape in the form of text, image, sound and video.

The project has received a Special Mention of the Jury by the European Commission and Europa Nostra 2015 Awards.

Project Details

  • Role

    Technical Direction, UX Design
  • Date

    2010-2012
  • Client

    National Board of Antiquities of Finland
  • Technology

    Unity3D, MS Kinect, Stereoscopic Projection, Custom Software

Vrouw Maria 3D Virtual Reality Simulation at Maritime Museum of Finland during exhibition opening

Vrouw Maria 3D Virtual Reality Simulation at Maritime Museum of Finland during exhibition opening

Vrouw Maria 3D Virtual Reality Simulation at Maritime Museum of Finland during exhibition opening

Vrouw Maria 3D Virtual Reality Simulation at Maritime Museum of Finland during exhibition opening

Vrouw Maria 3D Virtual Reality Simulation at Maritime Museum of Finland during exhibition opening

Vrouw Maria at Schloss Gottorf in Schleswig museum in Germany from 29 May – 4 October 2015

Screenshot during the animated sequence showing the ship sinking

Screenshot during the interactive exploration of the wreck

Design Process

design research, bodystorming, participatory design workshops, concept development, stroyboarding, wireframing, lo-fi interactive prototype, usability testing

Brainstorming for concept development

Bodystoming during participatory design workshop for concept development

Bodystoming during participatory design workshop for concept development

Creating sets of gestures for the interface

Creating sets of gestures for the interface

A set of gestures for the interface testing

Wizard of Oz style interactive prototype testing 

Usability and A/B testing sets of gestures

Interviewing the users after the test

Storyboarding for the narrative

3D Reconstruction of the wreck model in 3Ds MAX and color testing

Underwater landscape generated from multi-beam sonar data

3D Scan for the excavated objects

Merging all components and programming interaction in Unity 3D

Testing in the lab with users during development

Final user testing in National Gallery of Finland with real users (random museum visitors)

Final user testing in National Gallery of Finland with real users (random museum visitors)

Final user testing in National Gallery of Finland with real users (random museum visitors)

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