This Virtual Reality experience is about a coalmine ride and it is the ambitious work of two students, Georgina Hill and Barry Lewis from Bath College, in a collaboration with Radstock Museum. Georgina and Barry have developed and implemented the ride for the final project of their course, gaining them both a Foundation Degree in Applied Computing. The final project required the students to draw on all the computing skills they had acquired during the course, as well as to demonstrate skills in areas such as project management and collaborating with a third party and client.

In this Virtual Reality experience, the viewers take a seat for a fully three-dimensional trip. Specifically, they pop on the lightweight headset (which fits comfortably over glasses) and they will find themselves in the cage (the lift), which took the miners down underground, where their descent begins.

The viewers are in the role of a miner, clunking and bumping down the mineshaft in the cage – dropping at a rate of 60 feet per second – taking them deep underground. Once down at the pit bottom, they will find themselves travelling in a coal truck along rails on the underground roadway. By turning their head to look all around them, they can see the pit pony stables and miners eating their lunches. The viewers pass by miners cutting away at the coalface with picks and make way for a pit pony as it comes towards the viewers, pulling its load of coal.

This could be helpful in the TA4 of the ViMM project, because this project is a very realistic tour, which could be installed in a museum. With the help of Virtual Reality, the viewers are granted full immersion and thus their feeling of presence is very high, as they feel that they are really in a coalmine. The level of realism is pretty high, something that positively enhances the viewers’ experience and makes the virtual tour more fun and enjoyable, which could attract even more people to the museum where this project is installed in order for them to view it and also, many other exhibits that the specific museum can have.