Hear what our Developer and 3D Artist had to say about working on a “VR Human Anatomy Experience”.
I sat down with (Juan Windsor ) UE4 developer for this project and (Victor Chui ) 3D Artist to talk about their work. The Virtual Reality experience they are working on is an educational piece for students to learn about the human body in VR:
What is the most interesting fact about the human body you have learned so far working on this experience?
Victor: I think it is just discovering that your body is incredibly complex, almost like harbouring thousands of tiny factories each doing very complex tasks just to keep you alive by the second. It changes your perspective and gives you a much deeper appreciation for what your body is doing for you.
Juan: I agree with Victor, even the complexity of the motion in the epiglottis and how it controls air intake and the swallowing of food is fascinating.
Do you remember learning about anatomy or biology as a kid?
Victor: I remember biology classes, and I was interested in the topic, but nothing quite grabbed my attention like going through an episode of “Once upon a time… Life” on TV right after school. It made the information much easier to digest for kids, and it looked very fun. I also saw a very similar concept with the magic school bus where they dive inside the body with a vehicle to learn more about it. I just remember it was more fun learning about biology in such an entertaining way
Juan: I remember very little, I opted for physics over biology in high school. All I remember is that the Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. I’m still not sure what that means.
What is the hardest part of the body to design or program in the experience?
Victor: The human body is a very complex construct, and when we are trying to rebuild the movement and reactions that happen within it, inside of a computer simulation, we have to simplify so many things. Imitating life is very hard, and I am sure that’s something many developers would agree with me on!
What do you feel will be the most exciting part of this experience when it is complete?
Victor: Just being able to feel like a particle floating inside of a human body and learning about the various functions of the organs that are within you but in a more cinematic way!
Juan: The immersive experience and the visuals. I’ve always been fascinated with documentaries like The Hidden Life of the Cell, to be able to be inside those kinds of environments and be able to look around and observe what is going on inside the body is a really cool concept.
What do you want museum attendees to get out of this experience?
Victor: To have them walk out of this experience feeling that they have learned something new and exciting about what happens inside of their bodies on a daily basis.
Juan: First and foremost is for visitors to enjoy themselves and hopefully learn something. From a developer standpoint, that every positive experience will help drive acceptance of VR, which is really important for the industry as a whole, as it is still in its infancy.
Did you face any development challenges, how did you overcome them?
Victor: There was a time when the body map would appear on your wristband, set into a screen. We soon realised that the VR headset made this hard to read because it only had so many pixels it could display, and people brought their wristband close to their eyes so they could see the map. I fixed this problem by just having a decent sized hologram get projected out of the wristband. It ended up fixing the original problem and also looked cooler.
Juan: The biggest challenge I have faced so far in the experience has been AI and pathing of the robot companion. AI is a new challenge for me, and the robot being a flying character and navigating around a moving environment added some extra complexity to the issue. Like most technical challenges, it’s mostly about buckling down and doing the work, you have to learn the systems and not be afraid to experiment. Aside from the technical documentation, one of the biggest learning resources are your peers both on and offline. I am thankful I am able to draw on the knowledge and experience of the talented people around me.
To learn more about our Human Anatomy project click here