Latest Google VR App Lets You View Prehistoric Paintings
Google has been digitizing numerous museums, landmarks and galleries for its Google & Culture platform which can be accessed by anyone through a mobile app or browser.
This week, Google launched a new collection on its Art & Culture encyclopaedic platform that is based on the prehistoric art in the Chauvet Cave in Ardeche, France. Radioactive dating techniques approximate that the earliest of these paintings are 36,000 years old. This prehistoric site was discovered in 1994 and was cordoned off in the same year in order to protect the prehistoric site and art.
Google’s new VR exhibit of the paintings is the closest that a visitor can ever get to experiencing the cave while standing in it.
Dubbed Chauvet: Meet the Ancestors, the collection has 54 curated exhibits that contain more than 350 digitized assets. It has 3D models of the iconic The Horses Fresco painting as well as a bear skull left behind thousands of years ago by the inhabitants of the cave.
Apart from the 3D models, Google also created a 10-minute experience dubbed Chauvet: The Dawn of Art for both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets. The free app includes 12 explorable “stations” which showcase the cave’s surroundings as well some of the most famous paintings on the site. The experience is narrated by two actors: Daisy Ridley for the English version and Cecile de France for the French version. It also has expert commentary from the scientific team that has worked on the cave.
Apart from the virtual reality version of the app, Google will also release a non-interactive video version on YouTube. The Google Arts & Culture app will also feature an AR ‘Pocket Gallery’ that will enable users to view a life-sized model of the site. When you search for ‘Chauvet Cave’, you should find an information card with a ‘View in 3D’ button. When you tap or click on it, Google opens a 3D model of the cave which you can zoom into or spin around. Just like in the Pocket Gallery, there is also a digitized version of this that you can view in augmented reality using your smartphone.
Google has previously tapped into both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to support its Arts & Culture projects. In late 2019, Google created a virtual reality tour of Chateau de Versailles in France by using photogrammetry.
Google also created an AR app about the Bing Bang as well as a special Pocket Gallery with color-themed art from some 33 partner institutions.
You can check out the Google Arts & Culture website and native app for the latest updates on educational, interactive and up-to-date accurate material.