PROJECTS DESIGN OF A VIRTUAL REALITY ZONE @ THE GUWAHATI PLANETARIUM

We designed and developed a Virtual Reality (VR) Zone at the Guwahati Planetarium with an objective to educate visitors (largely school students) on space, planets and universe. The VR Zone consists of two sections - Zone A and Zone B presenting 8 Oculus Go and 5 Oculus Quests to achieve the defined objectives. Each zone has 3 applications with different educational contents, engagement and varied complexities to cater to a wide user group. At this moment, the applications educate visitors on planets, distances from earth and sun, their structures, planet categories and behaviours; solar system including stars, galaxy etc. and exploration to the international space station. The educational contents will be periodically updated in order to provide new knowledge to the visitors

The VR Zone is designed for users with low digital literacy. Some of the salient features accommodating user of low digital literacy include (a) choice of applications with consistent user and input interactions to reduce the learning curve (b) design of a VR Zone dashboard for user to avoid diversions to core Oculus features such as home, settings, library etc. - hence remaining focused on the proposed applications/contents (c) combination of visual and verbal training to the visitors before actual usage of the VR headsets (d) enabling confidence in adopting the technology with ease by allowing cost-free use in case the headset/controllers are damaged and finally (e) choice of application that allows user to choose between passive viewing and interactive/active VR experience

The VR Zone is expected to be used by 200 visitors every day. It is a part of the Guwahati Planetarium in Guwahati, Assam, India. The project is funded by the Assam Science and Technology Department, Govt. of Assam