Science

Palaeontology: David Attenborough’s new app brings prehistoric creatures into your home

David Attenborough is bringing long-extinct prehistoric creatures into people’s homes through the magic of augmented reality in a new app.

‘Museum Alive’, from Alchemy Immersive and Atlantic Productions, is an extension of Sir David’s BAFTA-winning 2013 documentary ‘Natural History Museum Alive’.

Suitable for all ages, the app uses your camera to create the illusion of being on a prehistoric safari — watching a sabre-toothed tiger, or Smilodon, stalking its prey.

Users can also bring to life a fossil Diamorphodon, a flying reptile that lived alongside dinosaurs some 195–190 million years ago during the Late Jurassic.

And delving further back in time to the oceans of 500 million years ago, the app introduces Opabinia, a weird, segmented soft-bodied predator with five eyes.

These scientifically accurate, animated dioramas are accompanied by information-rich image and video packs that tell the story of our planet over millions of years.

Future updates, the team told MailOnline, will see the addition of more creatures — including Mauritius’ iconic extinct flightless bird, the dodo. 

Museum Alive is available from Apple’s App Store for iOS (version 11.0 and later) and is compatible with the iPhone 7 and later. 

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David Attenborough is bringing long-extinct prehistoric creatures into people’s homes through the magic of augmented reality in a new app. Pictured: Diamorphodon, a flying reptile from the Late Jurassic Period, comes to life in the new Museum Alive app for iOS

'Museum Alive', from Alchemy Immersive and Atlantic Productions, is an extension of Sir David (pictured)'s BAFTA-winning 2013 documentary 'Natural History Museum Alive'

‘Museum Alive’, from Alchemy Immersive and Atlantic Productions, is an extension of Sir David (pictured)’s BAFTA-winning 2013 documentary ‘Natural History Museum Alive’

‘It’s really exciting to take these stories and bring them to a new young audience,’ said Sir David of the original 3D film and the new iOS experience.

The digital platform, he added, ‘allows you to explore these extraordinary extinct creatures in a way people have never been able to before.’

‘I hope that it will make people think about these extinct creatures differently.’

‘Working with David on our BAFTA award-winning film David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive, we were totally on the cutting edge of 3D,’ said Atlantic Productions CEO and Creative Director Anthony Geffen.

‘Now we take the user on a new magical journey. Using the very latest technology we bring to life some of David’s favourite extinct creatures and their worlds in a completely different way.’

‘In this Augmented Reality experience, the team is breaking new frontiers in immersive storytelling.’

Suitable for all ages, the app uses your camera to create the illusion of being on a prehistoric safari — watching a sabre-toothed tiger, or Smilodon, stalking its prey, as pictured

Suitable for all ages, the app uses your camera to create the illusion of being on a prehistoric safari — watching a sabre-toothed tiger, or Smilodon, stalking its prey, as pictured

Delving back in time to the oceans of 500 million years ago, the app introduces Opabinia, a weird, segmented soft-bodied predator with five eyes, pictured

Users can also bring to life a fossil Diamorphodon, a flying reptile that lived alongside dinosaurs some 195–190 million years ago during the Late Jurassic. Pictured: a pliosaur, a predator of Diamorphodon

Users can also bring to life a fossil Diamorphodon, a flying reptile that lived alongside dinosaurs some 195–190 million years ago during the Late Jurassic. And delving further back in time to the oceans of 500 million years ago, the app introduces Opabinia, a weird, segmented soft-bodied predator with five eyes. Pictured, Opabinia (left) and a pliosaur, a predator of Diamorphodon (right)

Future updates, the team told MailOnline, will see the addition of more creatures — including Mauritius' iconic flightless bird, the dodo. Pictured: a Diamorphodon chases a dragonfly

Future updates, the team told MailOnline, will see the addition of more creatures — including Mauritius’ iconic flightless bird, the dodo. Pictured: a Diamorphodon chases a dragonfly

‘We’re so proud to launch an app that can genuinely contribute to educating and inspiring children using immersive technologies,’ said Alchemy Immersive’s Creative and Technical Lead, Elliot Graves.

‘At a time when so many children are disengaged with learning, we really hope the excitement of bringing fossils to life in the home will provide a novel experience that showcases the potential of immersive story-telling within education.’

‘David Attenborough’s captivating stories bring an infectious liveliness to this immersive experience that instantly makes it cinematic.’

‘You just won’t forget what it’s like to have a Sabre-tooth tiger prowl across your floor before pouncing on its prey — and we can’t wait to share what it’s like.’

More info on Museum Alive can be found on the Alchemy Immersive website.

These scientifically accurate, animated dioramas are accompanied by information-rich image and video packs that tell the story of our planet over millions of years. Pictured: a Smilodon attacks its prey

These scientifically accurate, animated dioramas are accompanied by information-rich image and video packs that tell the story of our planet over millions of years. Pictured: a fossil of a Diamorphodon, a flying reptile

These scientifically accurate, animated dioramas are accompanied by information-rich image and video packs that tell the story of our planet over millions of years. Pictured: a Smilodon attacks its prey, left, and a fossil of a Diamorphodon, a flying reptile, right

Museum Alive is available from Apple's App Store for iOS (version 11.0 and later) and is compatible with the iPhone 7 and later

Museum Alive is available from Apple’s App Store for iOS (version 11.0 and later) and is compatible with the iPhone 7 and later

AUGMENTED VS VIRTUAL REALITY 

Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation of an environment or situation

It immerses the user by making them feel like they are in the simulated reality through images and sounds

For example, in VR, you could feel like you’re climbing a mountain while you’re at home

In contrast, augmented reality layers computer-generated images on top of an existing reality

AR is developed into apps to bring digital components into the real world

For example, in the Pokémon Go app, the characters seem to appear in real world scenarios

 


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