Tholos, a Virtual Reality museum hosting digital collections and testimonies of high cultural value, accessible to the public.
Tholos is a new dome-shaped Virtual Reality "Theatre" of Hellenic Cosmos, with a capacity of 130 people. It is a building of exceptional architectural design and with unique technological infrastructure, which hosts the digital collections of the Foundation of the Hellenic World.

"Tholos" resembles a planetarium regarding its natural and morphological characteristics. However, their only common characteristic is the semi-circular shape of the projection surface. The exterior shape of the "Tholos" refers to a whirling celestial body. It a sensation that is rendered through the processing of surfaces and the selection of materials, such as the successive rings that surround the external shell and the special lights that make it stand out during the night. Thus, the "Tholos" becomes a symbol of Hellenism and characterizes Pireos street.

The shows are interactive, controlled by the spectator, and not static. It is a unique experience of immersion into the virtual world, which is characterized by immediate response, flexibility, originality and liveliness. The shows use cluster VR technology and are presented in Realtime, they are presented using a MuseumEducator, they allow interaction of the visitors using the buttons which are located at each chair, and are parametrized by the Museumeducator to suit the target audience.

Resources needed

Realtime VR cluster, realtime VR Software, Realtime VR Applications.
The construction & equipment of the "Tholos" funded, as part of the Attica Regional Operational Programme of the 3rd Community Support Framework (with funding 50% by the European Fund of Regional Development and 50% by State Funds

Evidence of success

The Tholos is the only Realtime Planetarium in Greece and maybe one of a handful in Europe. It is the second in school visitor number after the Acropolis Museum. The Tholos has become a landmark of education and is effectively showing the past in an educative manner.

Difficulties encountered

Setup of a Realtime cluster & designing custom real-time application is not easy. You need a technical team and dedicated hardware. Then dedicated programs which run on this hardware. The maintenance of such a large scale VR systems have high demands both in Projector maintenance as in maintenance

Potential for learning or transfer

The use of VR in education & culture has been proven to have positive effects to the knowledge transfer. The use of VR systems in museums provide a visitor magnet which allows the visitor to come more easily to your museum.
Using a large scale VR system allows the swift and ability to have collaborative, and group experiences because a whole school or large group can experience the same content at the same time. The size of the Tholos VR system mesmerizes and captivates the audience and the realtime ability let them interactively choose they path & actions in the VR environment. Therefore the educational goal is achieved and the application gets their full attention.
Furthermore the usage of a Museumeductor guiding the VR experience in real-time and adapting it at realtime to the audience, provides theatrical elements of a live show that is adapted to each visitor group. The museumeducator interacts as a guide with the audience and this enable even more the educational effectiveness.

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Project
Main institution
Cultural Centre
Location
Aττική, Greece (Ελλαδα)
Start Date
June 2006
End Date
Ongoing

Contact

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