Next time you go to the Seneca Park Zoo, you may also be able to travel to Madagascar.
A virtual experience is being developed there right now. Recently, we learned how the zoo is doing this — with the help of some tigers.
In order to turn the Seneca Park Zoo into a Virtual Madagascar, the zoo’s director of programming Tom Snyder had to go to Madagascar. He was joined by experts from RIT.
Together, they found animals, mainly insects, and started the process of making 3D models.
“We also scanned the jungle which is using laser and light to create little point cloud of the jungle so we could recreate that, and we also used an audio record system to see if we could identify where biodiversity is in the jungle,” said Snyder.
They’re now trying to take all that info to make a virtual reality gaming system within the next two years — not unlike the game they’re testing now that simulates the Genesee River ecosystem.
Eventually, the team is thinking you won’t even have to come to the zoo to enter these virtual worlds.
“We’re thinking in the future right about partnerships on campus to really make these into gaming experiences to bring it to even more people who may not physically go to the zoo to be emerged into the images and soundscapes of Madagascar,” says Kaitlin Stack Whitney, environmental science assistant professor at RIT.
And in learning about the island, people can learn about its diversity and how important it is to protect it.
The imaging system will be on display to the public at “Imagine RIT” on Saturday.