Project Description

Virtual Aquarium

THE CHALLENGE

Aquariums around the world are struggling to increase visitors, lower costs, and provide a fun experience for their guests. Alongside this is the growing concern in the public about the humane treatment of aquatic animals. Currently, to keep dolphins in captivity it costs about one million dollars a year per animal making it extremely expensive to add new animals to aquariums. These parks are looking for engaging, humane, and cost effective solutions that allows us to connect with these creatures in ways that do impact their health or confine them.

  • Captive displays
    The main way for the public to experience aquatic animals up close was through aquariums and water parks. Unfortunately, the captive animals pay a price for public entertainment and awareness. Animal safety is a major concern as is the morality of keeping intelligent animals, like dolphins, behind aquarium glass.
  • Costs
    It is extremely expensive to build facilities to house aquatic animals. Trainers need to care for these animals as well as to train these animals. Additionally, food, maintenance, and insurance for these animals adds up to major expenses for aquariums. The question is how can an aquarium add to their menagerie without increasing costs?

THE SOLUTION

EON Reality assisted a leading aquarium in turning one of their unused buildings into a Virtual Aquarium for their guests to experience several different species of aquatic animals. Together with Marine Biologists and an underwater cinematographers, the EON Reality team was able to replicate seven different species of underwater animals including: dolphins, beluga whales, humpback whales, great white sharks, whale sharks, orcas, and manta rays. The EON Icatcher system that the experience was built on brought to life the computer generated animals backed by high resolution underwater footage.

virtual aquarium whale

Improved understanding of sea life
As part of the experience, a Marine Biologist educates parents and kids about each kind of animal’s habitat, what it eats, and its behavior. In most cases this would require a captive animal, however due to the virtual nature of the exhibit this is no longer the case. Guests can now see how these animals behave in their natural environment.

Lowered Costs, Increased Animal Variety
Thanks to Virtual Reality, aquatic animals can be added to this experience simply by modeling and animating them with the aid of a marine biologist. This reduces the need for large tanks and environments as these digital animals can just be loaded on demand for visitors enjoyment.

THE RESULTS

This experience was opened as part of the aquarium’s 50th anniversary and is part of a major renovation of the aquarium. The experience was well received and access is purchased as part of a ticket.