5G industry news Acceleration & Innovation

Green Planet comes to life through the magic of augmented reality

  • 7 minute read
  • Published by Crispin Moller on 12 Jan 2022
  • Last modified 14 Jan 2022
The natural world is brought to life with the creation of The Green Planet AR Experience, powered by EE 5G, a unique augmented reality experience.
Green Planet Header

Led by a virtual Sir David Attenborough, transformed into a life-like 3D hologram, through state-of-the-art volumetric capture, guests of all ages will take an awe-inspiring, immersive journey exploring the secret kingdom of plants, as never before.

Visitors to the free to attend experience will travel through five digitally enhanced biomes – including rainforests, fresh water and saltwater worlds, the changing seasons and desert landscapes culminating in the human story and how we can all affect positive change. With digital seeds blowing through the air, fluttering butterflies, shoals of fish swimming through the ocean and virtual birds and animals coming to life, the visitor will take a magical leap into the natural world.

Created by Factory 42 with BBC Studios, and inspired by the Natural History Unit landmark series, The Green Planet AR Experience, powered by EE’s 5G network, opens on 11 February 2022. The experience will take place at 55 Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, London, bringing the natural world, and an environmental message, to the public.

Guests will be given a mobile device which will become their dynamic window into the world of plants. This technology engages audiences with plant life in an immersive and intimate way, allowing visitors to witness the extraordinary nature of plants from their perspective and on their timescale and in doing so, learn about biodiversity and why plants are so vital for the future of our planet.  The vivid interaction is enhanced as dynamic spatial audio guides you through the digital environment, and the digital plants and animals react to the visitors presence in the space.

Scientists and horticultural experts at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew have been involved in the creation of the digital plant life that will be seen, ensuring every leaf, tree and flower that guests will experience is a scientifically accurate representation.

The Green Planet Experience Consortium members have innovated to combine content, exciting story-telling, ground breaking interaction design and visual effects, 5G technology, mobile edge computing, science and volumetric capture video technology and innovation to create this inspiring immersive experience. 

The world leading creative, technology and scientific members of the Consortium are: consortium lead Factory 42, BBC Studios, 5G mobile network operator EE, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Talesmith and Dimension Studios.

The ground-breaking experience will be free to the public. The Green Planet Experience, powered by EE 5G was one of nine projects to win DCMS funding as part of the 5G Create competition, exploring how 5G can be used by a wide range of sectors including the creative industries.

The Green Planet Experience is a responsible experience. The team are working with Isla, the event sustainability body, to implement ‘proseed', the best practice framework for sustainable events - enabling them to set ambitious sustainability targets with robust planning and transparent reporting, key to ensuring that the Experience is in line with its environmental message.

The Crown Estate is working in partnership with The Green Planet AR Experience Consortium, providing the landmark Piccadilly Circus location at 55 Regent Street.  The Green Planet AR Experience, powered by EE 5G is one of a number of recent sustainability focussed pop-ups, which The Crown Estate has supported. 

The experience will open its doors to the public on 11 February 2022. Free tickets are available www.TheGreenPlanetExperience.co.uk

Each partner in The Green Planet Experience Consortium is playing a different role:

Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said: "We want to help UK industries harness the power of 5G to boost the economy and enrich people's lives. The Green Planet AR Experience is just one of a wave of cutting-edge projects the government is funding to achieve this.

"It is not just enabling the great David Attenborough to showcase the magic of the natural world through augmented reality but it's demonstrating the real value that new 5G-powered immersive technologies can add to the creative economy."

Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez

John Cassy, Founder and CEO, Factory 42 said: “Visitors will be transported from the bustle of Piccadilly Circus through a real rainforest into a mediative realm where the remarkable authority, Sir David Attenborough, will take them on a personal journey in which they immerse themselves deep into the interactive virtual world of the Green Planet.  This ground-breaking sustainable experience blends physical and digital worlds together creating an extraordinary encounter that provides knowledge, entertainment and in turn builds empathy with the natural world.”

Tom Burton, Head of Interactive, BBC Studios: “We work to the strengths of immersive and interactive storytelling, collaborating with the NHU to actively engage people with stories from the natural world. The Green Planet carries a critical message through the stories it tells. By innovating in cutting edge technologies, this ground-breaking experience brings these stories into the world around you to explore and engage with. We hope in doing so it furthers empathy and understanding of plants and the importance of our Green Planet.”

Marc Allera, CEO, EE’s Consumer Division said: “This pioneering project brings the power of our 5G network to life, enabling new and innovative experiences that will help to educate visitors on the extraordinary plant life that makes up our planet. At EE, we are working towards a more sustainable future today. Our whole business is powered using 100% renewable electricity, and we’ve pledged to be a net zero emissions business by 2030 for our own operations, and 2040 for our supply chain and customer emissions.  Our recent Not Tomorrow. Today campaign highlights the climate emergency we're all facing, offering practical advice on tangible actions that help to tackle these issues together. Understanding our environment has never been more important and by using augmented reality and EE’s brilliant 5G network, we will enable visitors to immerse themselves in nature and inspire greater responsibility towards our planet.”

Professor Alexandre Antonelli, Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew says: “We’re very proud to have collaborated with EE, Factory 42 and BBC Studios on this innovative and cutting-edge experience both by suggesting which plants to use and ensuring their representation is scientifically accurate.  It’s exciting that people will be able to experience the incredible, rich biodiversity of our planet through Augmented Reality and see first-hand the wonderful plants thriving in tropical jungles, aquatic ecosystems and desert landscapes, without even leaving London. 

“All life depends on plants and fungi - we need them for the food we eat, for the clothes we wear, the medicines that cure our diseases, and for the air we breathe. But natural resources are being degraded and destroyed at a rate unprecedented in human history and our scientists estimate 2 in 5 plants are threatened with extinction. That’s why using technology in this way to engage people is so crucial.  The Green Planet Experience can inspire visitors to learn more about the amazing diversity of plants and fungi and leave with a new passion to protect it for future generations.”

Martin Williams, CEO Talesmith said: “What could be more appealing and immersive than interacting with a life size virtual Sir David while a rainforest grows around you? At Talesmith we’re all about innovation in story telling and it doesn’t get more innovative than this. We’re delighted to have played our part in bringing Factory 42 and all our consortium partners game changing vision to life.”

Steve Jelley, Co-founder and Joint Managing Director of Dimension Studios, said: “There has been no better advocate than Sir David Attenborough for the natural world. We’re thrilled to be using volumetric capture to bring Sir David’s remarkable message to millions, ultimately changing people’s attitude towards our planet.”

Simon Harding-Roots, Managing Director for London at The Crown Estate, said: “This will be a really magical experience, helping to inspire people about our precious natural world and bring to life the challenges we all face in protecting our planet. David Attenborough’s work has had a galvanising impact on how we all think about wildlife and biodiversity, and we are thrilled to be supporting the continuing conversation with this immersive experience in the heart of the west end.”

Related projects

Topics

Tweet