NVISION: A Carnegie Musuem of Natural History Experience

Carnegie Mellon UniversityUnited States
2023 People’s Choice Award
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Voting closes at 23:59 EST (EST time: UTC-5) on 5 May 2023.


Concept / Student


Jason Wang, Nina Gao, Xuan Liu, Irene Yang


NVISION is an interactive experience design that utilizes Extended Realities to enhance emotional connections and maximize learning about animal conservation at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. The experience is unique in that it focuses on endangered animals and is designed to be a powerful and impactful experience for visitors. Through the use of AR and MR technology, visitors are able to immerse themselves in the animals’ habitats, interact with the animals in a realistic and engaging way, and learn about the conservation efforts being made to protect them. The gorilla experience is particularly moving, as visitors are confronted with the destruction of the animal’s habitat and are encouraged to take action to help protect the species. The experience also extends to a take-home aspect where visitors can scan a souvenir postcard of the animal they’ve interacted with and continue the interactions through mobile AR. Overall, NVISION is an innovative and educational way for visitors to connect with animals and learn about conservation in a memorable and impactful way.

Project Description

NVISION is an interactive experience design that uses Extended Realities to create an emotional connection and maximize learning about animal conservation at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Our team conducted research to identify pain points in the current visitor experience and used brainstorming and affinity diagrams to generate new concepts. We used Adobe Aero and After Effects to prototype and refine the AR and MR elements, as well as 3D CAD to build the habitats and objects. We also studied gestural design and visual indicators in AR to make the experience intuitive and easy to navigate.

The design process moved away from traditional methods such as reading textual information cards and instead focuses on learning through interactions. The museum experience begins by introducing visitors to local animals, such as bears, to form an emotional connection through hyperlocality. Visitors can learn about the animal’s geography by interacting with a spinnable globe projected by AR and about its habitat by immersing themselves in a cartoon, low-poly version of the habitat. They can also learn more about the animal through interactive voice-led explanations.

The gorilla experience is designed to be unique and emotionally impactful as it specifically focuses on endangered animals and their conservation efforts. The use of a low-poly gorilla projected in AR allows visitors to connect with the animal in a more personal way. Through AR, visitors can interact with a virtual representation of the destroyed habitat and learn about the issue through interactive prompts and information. The experience includes a pledge feature where visitors can commit to taking action in support of sustainable goals and encourages visitors to take personal responsibility for conservation efforts. The highlight of the experience is when the gorilla jumps out of the glass and interacts with the visitor. The visitor can also discover a hidden gem experience where the gorilla will respond to a chest beat.

After the gorilla experience, visitors can take a piece of the experience home with them by creating their own virtual postcard using a combination of AR and MR technology. Visitors can place a virtual representation of the gorilla in a location of their choice and add custom text and messages to the postcard. This feature not only allows visitors to share their experience with friends and family but also serves as a reminder of the conservation efforts they pledged to support.

Overall, the NVISION experience at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History is designed to be unique, interactive, and emotionally impactful. It educates visitors on animal conservation while encouraging them to take personal responsibility for sustainable goals. By utilizing Extended Realities, the experience breaks down barriers between visitors and exhibits and immerses visitors in a truly interactive learning experience that is both entertaining and informative. The use of AR and MR technology, as well as the postcard feature, makes the experience more relatable, memorable, and shareable.


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