Nausicaà: In the heart of the Ocean in augmented reality

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By Houmi Ahamed-Mikidache

A few days before the United Nations conference on oceans in Lisbon, Portugal, scheduled from June 27 to July 1, ERA ENVIRONNEMENT met the leaders of Nausicaà and studio SAOLA, creators of immersive experiences, initiators of Grand Large augmented reality immersion. Listen to the podcast the day before the launch of this unforgettable experience on Tuesday May 31.

Imagine yourself between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean on the island of Malpelo, off the coast of Colombia.  As you dive into the sea, you encounter thousands of unknown species in the middle of sunken mountains, canyons several kilometres deep, submerged volcanoes or rocky chimneys. This poetic discourse exists somewhere in France.

To appeal to his imagination, and to discover new sensations, to be in contact with unknown marine animals is possible in France, more than 200 kilometers from Paris, in Boulogne-Sur-Mer, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais. Since 2018, you can live this experience at the National Center of the Sea, Nausicaà. “Nausicaà is a centre of scientific culture that aims to lead an awareness-raising and educational role, of the 850,000 visitors we welcome each year, 130,000 are schoolchildren,” explains Christophe Sirughe, director of the Centre National de la Mer.   This center offers visitors, young and old, to discover and understand what the ocean represents, its geography, its biodiversity but also its fragility. In this aquarium, the largest in Europe, there are educational activities, meetings with healers and the visitor can even observe in real time the activity of healers.

For 10 minutes, visitors explore the vast world of the ocean and its people. Everything happens between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Guided by a giant species, the Luth Turtle, equipped with augmented reality glasses from a famous software brand, sitting on a bench in front of a 10,000 m3 aquarium, visitors cross paths with extraordinary but also fragile species: Moonfish, Bryde’s Whale, Whale Shark Sardines, Lion Mane Medusa, Sailfish Swordfish, and the Leatherback Turtle, in decline in many parts of the world.

Pressure from human activities, including shipping, cable laying, fishing, plastic waste and poaching, puts these unknown species and the seabed at risk.

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