OUR ORIGINAL VISION FOR THE VIRTUAL MAYFLOWER PROJECT CENTRED ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SERIES OF INTERACTIVE MARITIME AND COLONISATION HERITAGE SCENARIOS, BASED ON VR AND AR TECHNOLOGIES, SUITABLE FOR PRESENTATION TO A WIDE RANGE OF END USERS BOTH IN THE UK AND USA, POSSIBLY EVEN FURTHER ABROAD.
Our ambition was to develop scenarios that would transport the end-users back in time to experience the construction, layout, accommodation and resources onboard the Mayflower, and, by achieving a strong sense of presence, or “immersion”, would support motivational, even fun educational interactions with avatar representations of the crew and passengers. In short, through the exploitation of 21st Century technologies, the Virtual Mayflower project aims to facilitate new and exciting personal “journeys of discovery”, supporting strong cross-curriculum and STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics) educational delivery, and generating new narratives and cultural exchanges for generations to come.
During the six years the project was ‘live’ we had the pleasure of introducing the Mayflower story and our evolving VR experiences to a wide range of people in all walks of life across the UK and even further abroad. Those who have participated and experienced the work include teachers and young school children in mainstream and special needs schools, the scouting movement (Brownies, Guide and Cubs), senior citizens, including veterans from previous world conflicts; and specialists from historic and technology-based organisations, to mention but a few.
Even though we were unable to achieve all of the ambitions for the project, due to limited resources, the final outcome of the Virtual Mayflower project, is testament to the enthusiasm and dedication of a small, voluntary but highly capable team of 3D and VR and AR specialists. From early developments on a beach near Hastings, to a trip to Plymouth Massachusetts with an opportunity to capture 360o panoramic images on the Mayflower II; and from AR experiments on Plymouth Hoe and Dartmouth’s Bayard’s Cove, to the wind-swept docks of London’s Canary Wharf, this, like the journey of the Pilgrims themselves, is a story of ambition, commitment, elation and, ultimately, a reasonable degree of success.