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Lethbridge Military Museum unveils new virtual reality exhibit to honour D-Day

This year marks 75 years since Canadians landed on Juno Beach during D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, so the Lethbridge Military Museum is stepping up its game to introduce a brand new exhibit.It features an intricately designed and 3D-printed model of Juno Beach — tiny soldiers included — and a virtual reality experience that sends the viewer right onto the beach with narration about the war and letters from veterans. Valour Canada commissioned the VR software as an initiative to get students fully immersed in Canada’s military history.
Veteran observes the model of Juno beach at the Lethbridge Military Museum
Tiny model soldiers 3D printed for the new exhibit at the Lethbridge Military Museum
“We tried to replicate the environment so that when the kids take off the headset, they’ve learned what it was like, they’ve learned what the veterans experienced,” said Peter Boyle, Valour Canada’s president.“They’re able to better understand why we go to war and why we don’t go to war. They learn about the Canadian values we stand up for.” Though Lethbridge has been on the map for a while with VR gaming and college programs, this experience is something a little different.

“This is not a video game. The objective is not to gamify this,” Boyle said.

The Biggest Concerns. Despite the positives, there are some concerns about virtual reality. For example, some critics point out health and safety issues. If the technology is not used properly, users might suffer from health issues like seizures and other major discomfort. Some people could also trip and fall. There are also major privacy concerns with virtual reality. Some people fear that the headsets could lead to government surveillance, although there is no proof of that as of yet.

“The object is to teach the history. You’re listening to veterans tell their stories, you’re listening to diary entries, you’re staying on the physical beaches. It’s not violent, it’s not gory, but it’s a better look at what they experienced.”

The exhibit is on until Dec. 11, 2019.

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