We have created a novel tool based on Virtual Reality that allows us to visualise the real movements and behaviours of a Loggerhead turtle. Atlantis is also a powerful tool to raise awareness on the threats that sea turtles, and other marine animals, face in the oceans like plastic pollution.
In 2018, with the support of the Centre for Public Engagement, we developed Atlantis. Thanks to our collaboration with Guillaume Couche (Wolf in Motion), we were able to reproduce the real dive and swimming patterns of loggerheads that had accelerometers deployed in their carapaces. After weeks of free swim, we retrieved those accelerometers that contained information based on 6-axis acceleration and pressure, allowing us to subtract the speed, direction and depth of the turtle.
Atlantis is now a novel tool that has multiple uses in research and in education and conservation.
Following our philosophy, we made Atlantis publicly available for research and educational uses. With this, we want to make sure that other people benefit from our work, maximising its impact and helping reach common objectives.
Atlantis first mission is to facilitate the analysis of large datasets containing swimming information from accelerometers that we deployed on loggerhead turtles in Cabo Verde. The vast amount of information, usually millions of data points, makes it difficult for researchers to analyse behaviours such as diving, feeding or resting. Atlantis takes all the data from a given period of time of the diving profile of the turtle and transforms it into a realistic 3-D visualisation.
Here, Dr Emma Lockley from Eizaguirre Lab explains what is Atlantis:
Atlantis quickly became something more than a research tool. Using virtual reality technology (VR), Wolf in Motion developed an immersive experience where we witness the "real" dive of a loggerhead turtle. The dive experience is set in a rich and interactive environment, where users are asked to virtually pick pollution (plastic straws and bags) while they read interesting facts. A voice-over narrates short chapters related to sea turtles and oceans, such as the life of a sea turtle, the threats they face or about plastic pollution.
This new experience has immense potential as an educational tool for people of all ages. In Cabo Verde, Atlantis is being used in three different islands by groups we collaborate with as part of our Turtle Project. For them, this is a new tool that allows them to reach all public and convince them to protect turtles and their habitats. In Sal Islands, Atlantis has helped raise awareness in schools and high-schools, in small fishing villages and even in the jail.
Atlantis VR is only available for Oculus VR and you will need some of their basic headsets (Oculus Go). It is also available in three different languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Let us know if you want to use Atlantis as part of an educational activity or in a public engagement event. We will send you a redeem code and some instructions so you can start using it. We will only ask you to credit Eizaguirre Lab and Wolf in Motion in some of your publications, and to share your experience with the world.