WoofbertVR has launched a new Samsung Gear virtual reality app for museums that will help users to take virtual tours to the museums around the world. The app is powered by Oculus VR, and is already available for download. The company offers to the first users a free of charge visit to the Courtauld Gallery, which houses one of London’s most famous art collections.
According to WoofbertVR President and co-founder Elizabeth Reede, they are in the process of combining curators, educators and museum professionals in order to develop the content. The app is platform agnostic, and the company plans to support all headsets.
“The app was inspired by the need for open access to museums for people who would otherwise not be capable of going there”, says WoofbertVR cofounder Robert Hamwee. The company is already into developing the other educational products that will be offered to schools and users interested in learning an art. It aspires to work together with virtual reality space players such as DiscoverVR and Altspace to bring docents into the virtual environment in real time, so that it becomes possible to host tutorials on museum collections.
Reede says, “We will be able to port to any virtual reality device. As our experiences are user-driven and user-navigated, the level of virtual reality functionality will depend upon the capabilities of the particular head-mounted device being used for the experience”.
At this time, the app is free so that feedback from users, educators, as well as arts institutions themselves can be gathered and integrated in order to make the app and the experience the perfect one.
Stressing the vision and mission behind the app, Reede says, “When we are ready to charge a fee, it will be nominal, keeping in line with our mission to democratize the arts”.
The app allows a user to walk freely and through the museum and look at paintings and labels at a close quarter. Right now the company is offering only the Wolfson Room in the Courtauld Gallery free of charge for visitors. However, it aims at bringing new content every four to six weeks during 2016. They are talking with 85 museums and gallery spaces to generate more content hosted on the platform.
“So now with the launch of this app, it has become possible for a child in India to visit the Louvre, just with the help of a smartphone”, says WoofbertVR cofounder Robert Hamwee.