Touching Masterpieces

By Geometry Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

For NeuroDigital Brand Avatar Haptic Gloves

Highly Commended in category Design & Branding

In subcategory Digital - Experimental

Project Description
NeuroDigital tech start-up in Spain, had a mission: ‘to improve quality of life through disruptive technologies like Virtual Reality’.
The brief, to find the way how to show to the world amazing possibilities of haptic Virtual Reality in the most impactful way was thus realized.
Agency Solution
The creative idea:
A unique Virtual Reality experience for the blind, allowing them to ‘see’ world’s most iconic masterpieces - not with a headset, but with a pair of gloves.
For centuries, art has been a universal medium of expression connecting history, culture and generations.
However, out of all people living, over 36 million people are blind from birth, and 217 million, severely visually impaired. And even in today’s information age, blind people are still deprived from experiencing the majesty of art in its various forms and millions of people have literally never ‘seen’ or touched sculptural masterpieces such as ‘Nefertiti’, ‘Venus de Milo’ or ‘David’, naming just a few – until now.
‘Touching Masterpieces’ unique tactile experience opens up a new age of digital accessibility, letting blind people see what has previously been unseen.
The strategy:
NeuroDigital’s message that ‘Virtual Reality has endless potential for doing good’ was targeted to:
1. Big visionary brands and companies that can potentially invest into the project & technology 2. Museums and galleries around the world that can improve their accessibility 3. Blind organizations and charities 4. Blind and visually impaired people 5. General public to create awareness about Virtual Reality potential.
‘Touching Masterpieces’ exhibition at Prague’s National Gallery, supported by the Czech Ministry of Culture and the Major of Prague, launched NeuroDigital’s message to the world. The live experience was covered by all key national Czech media channels.
The video story of a blind student Kuba, documenting the experience, was placed on social media. Pitched to numerous publications, it resulted in over 544 million impressions in 172 countries.
The execution:
NeuroDigital partnered with Leontinka foundation, the charity for blind and visually impaired in the Czech Republic and together, using insights about how the blind perceive the world, created a unique tactile experience so to allow blind people to discover and fully explore a selection of iconic sculptural masterpieces through virtual touch.
The Avatar Virtual Reality gloves customized specifically for this project, were enriched with multi-frequency technology, and haptic maps were added to 3D models, laser scanned from the original sculptures.
After months of development, the National Gallery in Prague presented ‘Touching Masterpieces’ to the blind – and to the world.
The video story of a blind student Kuba, documenting the experience, was placed online and resonated with global media in 172 countries, spreading NeuroDigital’s message of digital accessibility, and sparking a debate amongst the public and tech leaders about how much more Virtual Reality and technology can offer humanity.
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