Vision Fountain recently visited the French National Museum of Natural History (MNHN).

We experienced the Grand Gallery of Evolution, which houses some 7,000 animal specimens and their new AR experince called “Revire”. This new augmented reality exprience brings 11 species of animals that are today extinct or endangered back to life fully animated color.

The museum uses Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 smart glasses. The smart glasses differ from VR headsets in that one is able to easily manouvre around the the museum without bumping into anything or anyone. The AR experience feels oddly fully immersive yet you still experience the environment beyond the headset.

At Revivre, the French National Museum of Natural History are breathing new life into long-extinct species. Image: SAOLA Studio / MNHN

The AR expreince that studio Saola has created is a parade of the animals and plants that we no longer or almost no longer find on Earth today. The cause is, as the audio explains, most often linked to a humankind.

From the beetle to the giant tortoise, the Revivre experience gives you species that are fully modelled in 3D and animated at their actual size.

Equipped with augmented reality glasses, you find yourself transported into the daily lives and places of these animals from different continents, sometimes under the sea, in the heart of a Thai forest or in peaceful African grassland.

Vision Fountain’s Creative Director, Richard Jones and Digital editor, Chieko Jones, try out Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 smart glasses at the the French National Museum of Natural History. ©Vision Fountain

Overall the experience is first class. The huge bonus with the Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 smart glasses is the ability to experince the museum environment whist still being immersed in AR. The drawback, from a developers point of view, is the current price for the HoloLens 2 which retails for around £4,000 a pair. When the cost of the hardware comes down it’s likely that AR experience will become more common place on cultural and heritage sites.