October 3rd, 2020
The Junior Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (JASU) provides organizational support for school children throughout Ukraine to grow in their understanding of scientific principles, and to encourage their intellectual, spiritual, creative and vocational development. On October 3rd, 2020, JASU was overjoyed to open their new Science Museum for the children of Ukraine.
For more than a year, renovations were underway converting a Soviet era building at the VDNKh Exposition center into a modern children’s science museum. With exhibits chosen from all over the world, QuietPixel was honored to be chosen to provide our HoloSands augmented reality sandbox for their environmental sciences area.
We worked closely with Dr. Vasyl Dunets, the museum Project Coordinator, to design a sandbox to their requirements, and to create a custom biome for Ukraine. The biome captures one of the unique features of Ukraine, that it is lush and moist in the north-western half of the country, but dries out as you move to the south-east.
To portray this, we show dense forests and green farmlands on the “west” end of the sandbox, and transition slowly to drier steppe terrain with irrigation circles on the other. An ocean layer to the “south”, and the sounds of birds and animals native to Ukraine complete the biome.
We began work constructing the sandbox in January of 2020. Right as we neared completion, the Covid-19 crisis hit and turned schedules on their heads. The biggest question became, “How do we install a sandbox on the other side of the world in the middle of a pandemic?”
In April, we packed up the sandbox, and shipped it to Ukraine using DHL air freight.
As summer approached, Ukraine reopened its borders, and we scheduled a trip to install the sandbox at the museum. Two days before our flight, Ukraine had to close its borders again!
With opening day quickly approaching, we scrambled for a solution. After several Zoom calls, a couple of instructional videos walking through the unpacking and installation procedure, Dr. Dunets and his staff were able to install the sandbox in two days and get it up and running!
The reception of the museum by the children of Ukraine has been wonderful. The museum is filled with hundreds of fascinating science exhibits, and HoloSands has been one of the big hits.
It was such a pleasure to work with Dr. Dunets and everyone at the Junior Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. If you ever find yourself in Kyiv, please stop in and enjoy this wonderful new museum.