A NASA-inspired AR installation recently went live at Dolby's Gallery in San Francisco. Titled 'Asteria,' the augmented reality journey across space is part of Dolby's ongoing series of site-specific commissions that are created for its unique gallery space in San Francisco.
Inspired by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, scientific research and cosmic mythology, this AR experience is optimized for the Dolby Gallery and unlocked through a smartphone. The installation uses real-time programming, audio-reactive 3D visuals, and immersive Dolby Atmos mixing, allowing users to view celestial bodies move through space while exoplanetary terrain is projected onto the gallery's LED Ribbon Wall.
Created by GMUNK, Innovation director at creative production partner, Tool of North America, the AR experience pairs with the big screen, coupling the two platforms to create this immersive space exploration. In order to create the best experience for the user and to create a smooth transition between worlds and storylines, GMUNK designed the AR app to pair with the Dolby screen content. By using a remote server to track time-code sync, the AR app on the user's mobile device is able to detect where the user is within the gallery film, allowing it to stay synced with their location within the film so each act is experienced in a perfect sequence.
Putting the user in the stereoscopic transmissions of the "xO-9 probe" explorer, they're taken to three different worlds in the year 2027, each world in a different state of worldly evolution; each corresponding to a unique epoch in Earth's own development. These holographic broadcasts represent the first time humans can experience space as if they are window-seat passengers in an explorer probe. The xO-9 transmissions - miniaturized for viewing as observable micro-universes - create a dimensional experience for the viewer. Like galactic mobiles that float in space wherever the viewer chooses to call them up.
To experience Asteria, visitors can download the Dolby Gallery AR to their iOS device. The Site-Specific Mobile AR & Gallery Experience consists of a 3-act, mobile AR experience for iOS devices synchronized with a 12 minute film that plays on loop on the gallery's 64-foot LED wrap around wall. There is also a mode to view the AR experience remotely that doesn't require you to be onsite at the gallery.
The project will run through November 14 in Dolby Gallery, located at Dolby HQ, 1275 Market Street in San Francisco. Visitors who download the app can visit the space and experience the AR features, paired with the audiovisual installation.
Photography: James Ken Butler