TOUCHING MASTERPIECES

Short List
ClientNEURODIGITAL
Category E02. Innovative Use of Technology
TitleTOUCHING MASTERPIECES
Product/ServiceAVATAR VR GLOVES
Entrant GEOMETRY PRAGUE Prague, CZECH REPUBLIC
Idea Creation GEOMETRY PRAGUE Prague, CZECH REPUBLIC
PR GEOMETRY PRAGUE Prague, CZECH REPUBLIC
Production GEOMETRY PRAGUE Prague, CZECH REPUBLIC
Credits
Name Company Position
Howard Smiedt Geometry Global Chief Creative Officer EMEA
Julia Dovlatova Geometry Prague Creative Director
Lluis Rotger Geometry Prague Associate Creative Director
Andrei Didyk Geometry Prague Art Director
Kai Granaas Geometry Prague Copywriter
Carlos Baer Geometry Prague Senior Creative
Martin Pesta Geometry Prague Managing Director
Iva Welker Geometry Prague Client Service Director
Jan Dvorak Geometry Prague Account Director
Tereza Balasova Geometry Prague Account Manager
Miroslav Popel Geometry Prague Senior PR Manager

Describe the creative idea

A unique Virtual Reality experience for the blind, allowing them to ‘see’ world’s most iconic masterpieces - not with a headset, but with a pair of gloves. For centuries, art has been a universal medium of expression connecting history, culture and generations. However, out of all people living, over 36 million people are blind from birth, and 217 million, severely visually impaired. And even in today’s information age, blind people are still deprived from experiencing the majesty of art in its various forms and millions of people have literally never ‘seen’ or touched sculptural masterpieces such as ‘Nefertiti’, ‘Venus de Milo’ or ‘David’, naming just a few – until now. ‘Touching Masterpieces’ unique tactile experience opens up a new age of digital accessibility, letting blind people see what has previously been unseen.

Describe the execution

NeuroDigital founded their company to improve quality of life through disruptive technologies like virtual reality. With 'Touching Masterpieces' project they opened up a new age of digital accessibility for the blind and visually impaired, which proved their mission like never before. Using insights about how the blind perceive the world, NeuroDigital created a unique tactile experience so to allow blind people to discover and fully explore the world’s sculptural masterpieces through virtual touch. Virtual Reality haptic gloves were customized specifically for this project by being enriched with multi-frequency technology able to stimulate different types of skin cells’ tactile responses to provide the blind with the most accurate perception of 3D virtual sculptures of 'Nefertiti', 'Venus de Milo' and 'David' by Michelangelo. Depending on the texture and shape of the virtual object, different vibrations were sent. 3D models were modified from laser scans of the original masterpieces with unique UV unwraps and re-topology, adding necessary extra levels of texture to create a real tactile experience. Keeping in mind that blind and visually impaired people see by touch, haptic feedback was configured to let them decide which vibrotactile actuators they want to use. In other words, letting them switch between their way of seeing – with either finger tips, palms or hand, making the experience truly immersive for them all. The ‘Touching Masterpieces’ exhibition at Prague’s National Gallery, supported by Czech’s Ministry of Culture and the Major of Prague, launched NeuroDigital’s message of digital accessibility globally. The live experience was covered by all key national media channels.The video story of a blind student Kuba documenting the experience was placed across social media. Pitched to numerous publications, it resulted in over 544 million impressions in 172 countries and has sparked a debate about how much more Virtual Reality and technology can offer humanity.