Immersion, a leading international technology company that develops award-winning integrated augmented reality and virtual reality experiences, has created for the Smithsonian Channel an app, “Apollo’s Moonshot AR” as a companion to its landmark six-part TV series by the same name. The app has been nominated for Outstanding New Approaches in the Documentary category of the 41st annual News & Documentary Emmy® Awards.
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) will announce documentary winners in a virtual ceremony on September 22.
“We set out to experiment with these new technologies to see how they can extend our storytelling,” said Charles Poe, Smithsonian Channel’s SVP Global Production and Emerging Technology. “By working with Immersion’s VR/AR gaming experts, we could translate the story into real interaction. It became a beautiful marriage of factual education and entertainment. So people can participate in the moon landing missions in a much more immersive way than ever before.”
Throughout the development process, Immersion VR had access to NASA experts and archive materials including original footage and 3D scans of artifacts from Apollo missions. As a result, each module of the app and every 3D model and animation delivers an experience as close to actual events as possible.
Immersion VR Vice- President Bartosz Roslonski said, “In the moon portal, we recreated the entire landing site, placing the moon devices and lander exactly where they were in reality. Thanks to original moon landing footage, we were able to recreate and animate the movements of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and the experiments they performed on the moon surface.”
The resulting app includes both augmented reality and virtual elements that allow players to have an extended reality experience. Users can:
Launch a Saturn V rocket
Sit inside the Lunar Command Module of Apollo 11
Step through a portal to explore the lunar landscape
Play simulation games to navigate to the moon and make a smooth lunar landing
Take a shareable selfie on the moon in the authentic Apollo 11 spacesuit
Get close to rare artifacts including authentic 3D scans of Neil Armstrong’s space suit and the Lunar Command Module
Apollo’s Moonshot AR app has gained other recognitions, including: SXSW finalist for best visual experience, Telly Awards – Gold winners – Craft of use AR, Webby awards – nominated in education & reference and entertainment and is a featured app on Apple’s augmented reality homepage. Another collaboration by Immersion in 2020, with the American Museum of Natural History’s exhibit T. rex: The Ultimate Predator introduced the museum’s first multiplayer interactive VR experience.
“Our hope is that the prestige of the Emmy nomination can further drive awareness of the effectiveness of augmented and virtual reality resources to both educate and entertain, providing an experience that appeals to learners of all ages,” said Immersion VR CEO Piotr Baczynski. “It was an honor to access such precious archival and historical documents and to then invite people everywhere to come into the story to relive and deepen their understanding of the Apollo missions.”
NATAS will announce the documentary winners in a live-stream ceremony 8 p.m. EDT September 22 on its dedicated viewing platform and online at watch.theemmys.tv and via The Emmys® apps for iOS, tvOS, Android, Fire TV and Roku according to a NATAS press release.
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41st Annual News & Documentary Emmy full list of nominees