WALLINGFORD, CT., July 9, 2002– Visitors to Connecticut’s Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration are exploring Monterey, California’s National Marine Sanctuary “live” from across the continent. This innovative new project, known as the Immersion Institute TM, uses the same robotics used in sea exploration, enhanced by high quality, real-time video from VBrick Systems.
In a first of its kind application, VBricks transport high-quality video from the Monterey National Marine Sanctuary over Internet2, a high-speed backbone that provides nationwide high-performance networking capabilities to more than 200 universities. VBricks located in Mystic then deliver the DVD-quality video streams in real-time to the Immersion Institute for display on video screens and TV monitors, allowing visitors to interact with the marine environment from thousands of miles away.
Dr. Robert Ballard, the famed researcher and explorer who discovered the Titantic, conceived this innovative project. “Nearly ten years ago I envisioned creating an opportunity for people to go on their own explorations using the same tools that we use for deep sea expedition,” said Dr. Ballard, founder and president of the Institute for Exploration. “By wiring these National Marine Sanctuaries we can now bring the wonders of the sanctuaries to people who would otherwise never have an opportunity to witness them.”
The Immersion Institute program allows visitors to explore the Monterey Sanctuary in a round theater using interactive consoles to operate a submersible wired with live, real-time video cameras. An interpreter takes the audience through an exploration of the sanctuary while an interactive game is running on the console in front of them. At the interactive consoles, visitors can also learn more about the marine life that inhabits the sanctuary, such as California sea lions and anemones and Bat Stars, from informational databases, play virtual games, and earn points for completing “missions” by locating specific life forms. There are also plans to develop an educational version to serve as a tool for teachers to help make marine science, including marine biology and ecosystems, interesting, real and relevant to their students.
“The Immersion Institute is a tremendous example of the power of video as an educational tool,” said Rich Mavrogeanes, founder and president of VBrick Systems. “Mystic Aquarium is demonstrating outstanding leadership in this regard by enabling visitors to interact in real time in a marine environment 3000 miles away. We at VBrick Systems are proud to be part of this groundbreaking project.”
About VBrick Systems, Inc.
VBrick Systems, Inc. develops, manufactures and supports MPEG hardware and software products and systems that deliver DVD-quality video and audio through existing broadband networks, enabling organizations to make one- and two-way video an essential part of their operations. These powerful y