Greek startup launches vir­tual Olympia guide

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

A Greek startup has launched a 360-de­gree vir­tual re­al­ity app for the ar­chae­o­log­i­cal mu­seum at An­cient Olympia, in the Pelo­pon­nese, one of the most im­por­tant sanc­tu­ar­ies of the an­cient world and birth­place of the Olympic Games.

De­vel­oped by SpinAround, an Athens­based com­pany spe­cial­iz­ing on the pro­duc­tion of pho­to­re­al­is­tic full 360-de­gree vir­tual tours, the Koti­nosVR app (koti­nos means olive wreath, the prize for the win­ner of the an­cient Games) brings to­gether se­ri­ous learn­ing with well-crafted pro­duc­tion val­ues and a sense of fun.

Users can vir­tu­ally wan­der around the mu­seum, scroll through in­for­ma­tion about the ex­hibits, and fa­mil­iar­ize them­selves with the found­ing ideals of the an­cient Olympics. On top of pre­cious de­tails about world-fa­mous ar­ti­facts such as Her­mes of Prax­ite­les and Nike of Paio­n­ios, the app of­fers au­dio tours of the site and in­ter­ac­tive quizzes about the an­cient Olympic Games and life in An­cient Olympia. An owl avatar named Athena pro­vides guided tours in Greek or English. The de­sign­ers plan to make the app avail­able in more lan­guages in fu­ture.

Koti­nosVR will be avail­able for smart­phones and tablet de­vices, but for an im­mer­sive vir­tual re­al­ity ex­pe­ri­ence, users can use a mo­bile vir­tual re­al­ity head­set.

“Our mis­sion is [to pro­vide] dis­tance learn­ing of the high­est qual­ity,” says Dim­itris Christodoulou, SpinAround’s CEO, who ini­ti­ated the project in April last year.

“With the help of modern tech­no­log­i­cal de­vices, such as vir­tual re­al­ity head­sets, users will be able to not just wan­der through the mu­seum but to ac­tu­ally ed­u­cate them­selves more ef­fi­ciently through in­ter­ac­tive games,” says Christodoulou.

Its de­sign­ers point out that we tend to re­mem­ber about 10 per­cent of what we read, 20 per­cent of what we hear and 90 per­cent of what we do or sim­u­late.

The project has al­ready re­ceived the green light from the Min­istry of Cul­ture’s Cen­tral Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Coun­cil (KAS). The de­sign­ers launched a crowd­fund­ing cam­paign on the Indiegogo web­site last month. Should Koti­nosVR hit the mar­ket, the com­pany prom­ises to of­fer pub­lic schools around the world free ac­cess to the app.

“This is an ed­u­ca­tional tool for the new gen­er­a­tion,” Christodoulou ex­plains. “We hope this is just the be­gin­ning.”

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