HTC and the American Museum of Natural History announced early this year that the Manhattan-based institution’s ‘T. rex: The Ultimate Predator’ exhibit was getting a VR experience that would let museum-goers collaborate to build a Tyrannosaurus rex bone-by-bone in virtual reality. Starting today, you can now jump into the app with your VR headset at home.

Update (July 22nd, 2019): Vive Studios and Vive Arts released their educational title, ‘T. Rex: Skeleton Crew’, to at-home Viveport members.

The app is available either through Viveport Infinity, the Netflix-style subscription service, or on the Viveport store for $5. The app is specifically targeted towards HTC Vive and Vive Pro headsets.

Original Article (March 6th, 2019): The experience, dubbed T. rex: Skeleton Crew, was created by the Museum’s Science Visualization team, Vive Studios, and Warsaw-based AR/VR studio Immersion. The project was also undersigned by Vive Arts, HTC’s program to help cultural institutions fund and develop VR installations.

T. rex: Skeleton Crew takes up to three visitors and places them in a virtual re-imagining of the Museum’s Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs, where they will work together to build a T. rex skeleton bone-by-bone. Completing the dinosaur skeleton transforms it into a walking, breathing beast, while simultaneously the Hall transforms into T. rex’s Montana home circa 66 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous Period.

In addition to the multiplayer VR experience, the museum will also be showing off life-sized reconstructions of T. rex at various life stages, which includes “the most scientifically accurate representation of T. rex to date, fossils and casts, large-scale projections and hands-on interactives to tell the amazing story of the iconic dinosaur,” HTC says in a blog post.

Now celebrating its 150th anniversary, T rex: The Ultimate Predator will be this year’s first major exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History.

“Virtual reality is a magical realm in which our human perceptions of time and space are suspended,” said Vivian Trakinski, the Museum’s director of science visualization. “In virtual reality, nothing is too small, too big, too fast, too slow, too distant, or too long ago to be appreciated. We hope this technology will let our visitors experience the most fantastic and inaccessible realms of nature.”

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Vive Arts has seen several partnerships with museums all over the world since the program’s launch in 2017, including London’s Royal Academy of Arts, Tate Modern, Taipei’s National Palace Museum, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris, Washington D.C.’s Newseum, and St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum.

The T. rex exhibition will be open to the public from March 11th, 2019, to August 9th, 2020. A version of this VR experience will also be available on Viveport starting Summer 2019 (see update).

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • got to make the 3d graphics more realistic than that.

    • jj

      Museums aren’t usually that heavily funded, for them to have this already is pretty epic. If you’re looking for game quality graphics, odds are you’re not going to find them at a museum. Of course there are some that are though.

      Not to mention those graphics are pretty good for something not by a AAA or specialty studio.

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      • i guess, but once you tried then you probably not want to do it again.

  • Mateusz Pawluczuk

    So this will be a bit like location based VR only focused on educational aspects :) Cool, would not mind giving this a try.

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  • MosBen

    I was going to click into the comments to ask why there weren’t feathers on the T-Rex, but when in the article I could see that the header image did indeed have feathers. Then I flipped back, because the image of the T-Rex before you clicked the video didn’t look like it had feathers, but when you see it in motion it might.

    So I think that my pedantry is satisfied, but I’m watching you, Museum of Natural History…