Natural History Museum brings extinct creatures to life with new CGI interactives

By Richard Moss | 30 November 2010
a photo of two hands holding an interactive screen with a dinosaur on it
Dinosaurs wander around the Attenborough Studio at the Natural History Museum© Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is venturing deeper into the world of computer graphics and virtual gaming by inviting visitors to its Attenborough Studio to take an interactive journey exploring the story of evolution.  

Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, Who do you think you really are? is an ambitious “augmented reality” film  which uses cutting edge technology to bring extinct creatures to life. Visitors to the eponymous film and technology space in the museum's Darwin Centre will be able to summon a CGI model of a dinosaur and an early human, which will then appear to roam around the room alongside them.

The remarkable feat is the result of partnership with BBC Research and Development, and has been achieved using a clever combination of three independent screens, web cams and specially designed handheld devices. It’s the first time a high profile museum space has attempted to blend computer graphics into real life in this way.

a photo of two hands holding an interactive screen with a CGI hominid on it
© Natural History Museum
“Who do you think you really are? features completely unique film making technology to tell the story of how we evolved from the simplest living creatures, and how we share our DNA with a huge variety of life,” said Sir David.

“It is my hope that through this exciting and innovative film we can continue to inspire the next generation to take a step towards securing our planet’s future.”

During the film viewers will discover how we are related to dinosaurs, early humans and even bananas by using the unique handset to send images to screens around the studio. Users can also interact with museum scientists, play with virtual specimens and take part in quizzes.

At home you can log-on to to access gifts and a rich resource of additional information, including augmented reality clips and forums discussing the new interactive films.

Weekday screenings at 3.30pm and most weekends at 11am. Admission free, call 020 7942 5000.
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