Visit StickyLock

AR Improves Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Centre Experience

AR Improves Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Centre Experience
New AR displays shown at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Centre

Augmented reality is improving the visiting experience at SURF

The Lead Open Cut is about 1,200 feet deep from top to bottom. Situated on one side of this enormous precipice is the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Centre (SLHVC). The Open Cut is so deep that, from the center’s observation platform, visitors are unable to see the bottom. But the complete Open Cut may now be seen thanks to ingenious use of augmented reality technology.

Visitors may now use their own smartphones to see all the way to the bottom of the Open Cut thanks to augmented reality. An interactive 3D representation of the Open Cut may be accessed on a smartphone by simply scanning the QR code that is placed next to the viewing windows at the visitor centre. To get a greater perspective and comprehension of the enormous size and form of this landmark, viewers may pan and zoom the 3D picture.

Visitors to the SLHVC may now thoroughly examine locations and artefacts that are normally off-limits to the general public by using augmented reality. Kelly Kirk, director of the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Centre, says that interacting with these 3D photos provides a different viewpoint that piques interest and encourages a more in-depth conversation about what is being seen.

Moreover, visitors may use augmented reality to explore and learn about one of the main focuses of SURF research. The old Large Underground Xenon (LUX) dark matter detector is housed in the SLHVC. From 2013 to 2016, while LUX was in operation, it was the most sensitive dark matter experiment ever conducted on Earth. The titanium exterior of the liquid xenon chamber, which served as LUX’s heart, is visible and touchable to visitors.  Visitors may also see the considerably larger liquid xenon chamber for the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) dark matter experiment adjacent to its smaller predecessor, LUX, thanks to augmented reality. Twenty times bigger than LUX, LZ may be placed in the space where it towers above LUX by scanning a QR code with a smartphone.

We intended to use the LZ cryostat to offer guests a true feeling of size. LZ is taller than LUX, towering at almost 13 feet. Visitors will be able to explore the model and see it as if it’s in front of them, according to Stephen Kenny, a multimedia expert at SURF who was involved in the creation of the augmented reality exhibit.

Right now, LZ is the most prominent dark matter experiment in the world. It is currently very difficult to see a 3D depiction of the liquid xenon chamber for LZ outside of augmented reality at the SLHVC. At the moment, LZ is running 4850 feet below Lead town. Additionally, the inner titanium chamber is hidden, like the core of an onion in that it is protected by many layers of tanks within other tanks, which maximises the sensitivity required in the search for dark matter.

It has always seemed highly beneficial to allow visitors to the SLHVC to see and handle a little portion of scientific history, and the interest is clear. Giving students the opportunity to digitally visit the latest generation of experiments will only enhance the experience and could even spark a career, according to Simon Fiorucci, operations manager for the LZ research and project leader at Berkley Lab.

Educating future generations is one of the goals of the Sanford Underground Research Facility. The SLHVC is debating adding more augmented reality displays to provide educational possibilities for all guests.

Kenny says that the company is excited to be able to provide these guests with AR experiences, and they were enthusiastic about making more of them.

Join the Discussion

Visit StickyLock
Back to top