21.03.18

National Geographic show projected in astronaut helmets

Viewers in projection helmets by Eduardo Munoz
Eduardo Munoz for National Geographic

The Space Projection Helmet is a unique and new immersive visualisation method and the brainchild of the National Geographic and studio Tomorrow Lab.

The helmet was developed for the run up to the world premier of National Geographic’s series One Strange Rock and shows footage from the programme through a one-of-a-kind immersive viewing experience at an event in New York. The experience will then tour schools and planetariums in a number of US cities.  

Executive producers Darren Aronofsky and Jane Root worked with actor and host Will Smith on the series that tells the story of Earth from the perspective of astronauts.   

Laser projection, custom fish-eye optics and built-audio are housed in the replica space helmet. Developers say the field of view is much wider than traditional VR headsets and users can move their head inside the dome to explore the entire field of vision. In short, it delivers the visual experience an astronaut would have in space. 

 Jill Cress, chief marketing and brand officer at National Geographic Partners, said: “One Strange Rock is an unprecedented television experience; we were inspired by the innovative storytelling, mesmerising footage and the unique accounts of astronauts to create a specialised viewing mechanism that would elevate and emulate their first-hand experience.

“The OSR Space Projection Helmet furthers National Geographic’s commitment to use technology to make science fun, entertaining, and accessible to new audiences.” 

Nir Refuah, executive technology creative director at McCann NY, added: “One Strange Rock tells the story of earth from the unique perspective of astronauts who have seen it from outer space, and we wanted to replicate that view and experience right here on earth.

"Using internal projection, a full visor field of view and free head movement, the Space Projection Helmet enables a space experience that no VR headset could deliver.”  
 
How the National Geographic space helmet works