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A blooming digital experience

21 May 2018

University and Manchester Museum create educational virtual reality at the RHS flower show

Image taken from RHS show

Visitors to this year’s RHS Chatsworth and RHS Tatton Park flower shows will have the opportunity to try a digital experience exploring orchid pollination developed in collaboration with the University of Manchester and Manchester Museum. Dr Rachel Webster from Manchester Museum, and Dr Minsung Kim from FBMH, have worked together with digital designer Simon Mabey and the RHS to create an engaging educational virtual reality world where visitors will be able to experience orchids as if they are a visiting insect. 

Orchids have amazing flowers and have evolved interesting strategies for achieving pollination. While the flowers of many plants can attract a wide range of different insect pollinators, most orchid species target and attract a very specific pollinator using elaborate and witty tactics such as deception, mimicry, rewards and even entrapment. A 360 animated video will playfully immerse visitors in the complicated world of orchid pollination. 

The team visited the RHS London Orchid Show and Plant Fair with a sneak peek of the digital experience, and the full installation will launch in the ‘Great Conservatory’ at the RHS Chatsworth flower show (6th-10th June 2018). The physical installation will feature hundreds of paper flowers made by Manchester Museum staff and volunteers. It will then move to the Bee Hive feature at the RHS Tatton Park flower show (18th-22nd July). 

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