A Museum In Your Monitor: Immerse Yourself In Art In New Virtual-Reality Gallery

Do you like museums, but live in the middle of nowhere?  Do you long to gaze upon the world's artistic treasures, but are daunted at the thought of walking through miles of gallery halls just to spot one specialty?  Now, thanks to virtual reality, some of the finest art and artifacts are available for your perusal, in 3D, from the privacy of your own computer screen.

According to factor-tech.com, the University of Sheffield in England has created the "Computer Love 2.0" program to make art enthusiasm available everywhere.  Navigated with an Oculus Rift system or simply a mouse and keyboard, the Computer Love 2.0 program takes the viewer through virtual versions of Sheffield's National Fairground Archive, the Turner Museum of Glass, and the Alfred Denny Museum.

If you don't trust yourself around the artifacts (pictured) in the real-life Turner Museum of Glass, perhaps visiting the virtual version is smarter.
(Image courtesy bbc.co.uk.) 

The galleries are not limited exclusively to artwork.  Many of the installments in these particular institutions involve animal elements, such as an eagle skull or guillemot eggs.  Dr. Steve Maddock, a member of the university's Computer Science department and one of the program's creators, explained, “Hopefully our art gallery – which explores the relationship between science and art by ‘displaying’ things like our half-specimens as artworks – will pique the interest of visitors and encourage them to make the trip to see the full collections in real life."  

With virtual reality poised to make a major impact on how we see and interpret new things to learn, this could be an important first step in sharing culture worldwide. Could the Met or the Louvre soon follow suit? Will Banksy start writing grafitti electronically? And what happens when someone creates a piece of art that REQUIRES the digital 3D format?  Someday soon, we'll see...in elegantly rendered 3D.

Now you can take a field trip anytime!
(Image courtesy sheffield.ac.uk.)

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