BBC Earth’s Next ‘Micro Kingdoms’ Immersive Experience is Coming on Magic Leap
The BBC has always been at the forefront of adopting emerging technologies and it has taken up enthusiastically to immersive technologies such as virtual reality. Now the media company is partnering with the developers from Preloaded to bring the Micro Kingdoms to AR through Magic Leap, giving users new ways through which they can interact with the content.
The BBC Natural History Unit, known more for its nature programs, first brought Micro Kingdoms to VR in 2018. By moving it to mixed reality, it is hoping to more vividly illustrate the minute details of the micro habitats.
This will be through the BBC Earth-Micro Kingdoms: Senses for the AR headset. It has been developed by Preloaded in collaboration with the BBC Studios and it utilizes the Magic Leap augmented reality headset to digitally project micro habitats to users’ spaces.
Users will be able to render minute details of the micro habitats such as ant colonies right into their living rooms and coffee tables. The augmented reality experience will bring out the “invisible senses” that make these habitats work. This will be one of the most interesting uses of augmented reality, allowing the viewer to observe and inspect the tiny creatures and environments in very close proximity and detail without the risk of interfering with the habitats.
Preloaded has also partnered with the BBC on other projects such as the Life in VR app for Google Daydream. Its other projects include a collaboration with Within in its augmented reality experiences known as A Brief History of Amazing Stunts.
The project with BBC has been developed under the Magic Leap’s Independent Creator Program which provides funding and mentorship to creators wishing to get into AR development. Another initiative that has sprouted under the independent developer initiative is PuzzlAR which was released last week.
Micro Kingdoms: Senses will be coming to Magic Leap devices later in the year. The Magic Leap headset is currently a Creator Edition and is mainly targeted at mixed reality creators. The downside with availing it through this device is that it has a very limited reach compared to other mixed reality devices. The version that is currently available is the Creator Edition and it goes for a whopping $2000. So the experience is unlikely to reach a wider audience.
Magic Leap has roped in more than $2.6 billion in funding so far but is yet to release a more consumer-focused mixed reality headset. The startup’s Independent Creator Program is however geared at building a strong foundation for a thriving mixed reality content ecosystem, perhaps in readiness for a future mass consumer product.