Total Immersion Enlists Augmented Reality to Promote Environmental Awareness
August 23, 2010

Total Immersion Enlists Augmented Reality to Promote Environmental Awareness

Los Angeles, Calif. – This year, environmental consciousness doesn’t need to wait for the classroom.
As kids begin that annual back-to-school ritual, Total Immersion, a leader in augmented reality, announced that it has joined forces with two environmental organizations to bring an engaging lesson in eco awareness to children visiting SEA Lab in Redondo Beach, just south of Los Angeles.

In association with the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program and Pavement LA, Total Immersion developed an environmental kiosk that uses augmented reality (AR) to teach kids about pollution and its effects on wildlife and the environment. DDTs and PCBs dumped in the ocean near Los Angeles decades ago continue to contaminate natural resources in the area. The Montrose Settlements Restoration Program is taking action to restore these resources.

Kiosk visitors can sample any of three augmented reality experiences, each accompanied by an embedded informational video. As kids witness the nesting habits of bald eagles, they learn about the lingering impact of DDT on the species. A separate vignette highlights habitat restoration among native seabirds, known as murrelets, while a third promotes safe fishing via an animated look at the white croaker, a fish at risk from DDTs and PCBs that are still found in the sand and mud on the ocean bottom.

“We’re passionate about both education and the environment, so the prospect of bringing the power of this technology to the cause of teaching kids about endangered species was irresistible,” said Delna Balsara of Pavement LA, a sustainable design consultancy committed to helping clients find alternative ways to approach projects in a more environmentally conscious way. “Especially now, with the Gulf oil spill focusing everyone’s attention on the delicate balance needed to preserve wildlife habitat, the AR scenarios present invaluable lessons, in a memorable fashion.“

“Augmented reality is an entirely new way to engage children, promoting ecological consciousness and interaction with endangered species through the magic of this technology,” said Gabrielle Dorr, outreach coordinator, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. “What’s especially helpful is the blend of AR and video within each scenario – each reinforces the other and underscores our message.”

“This is experiential education that captures imaginations as it promotes a deeper understanding of the environment,” said Bruno Uzzan, CEO, Total Immersion. “The MSRP project demonstrates vividly that augmented reality is an inherently versatile new human interface.”

Various restoration activities are currently under way to address restoration of the area’s natural resources that were harmed by DDT and PCBs. The AR kiosk is slated for a five-year run at the Redondo Beach facility.

The Redondo Beach installation is the latest in a growing series of educational AR projects from Total Immersion. In addition to augmented reality exhibits at science centers in Arizona and Singapore, the company contributed to the “My BodyWorks” permanent display, which opened last year at the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center in Mobile, Ala. – and puts 3D images of a beating human heart into the welcoming hands of visitors.