Women in Spitfire engineering is an interactive VR experience at Biggin Hill Memorial Museum which transforms the overlooking Airport, famous for its role in WW2 as an RAF fighter base, to show the stories of the brave women who were pioneering female engineers.
This project, created by local theatre companies, schools, RAF cadet units and historians is being led by Copper Candle, the immersive technology company responsible for delivering XR content to battleships, museums, education groups and metaverse applications.
Based locally to the museum, this project is close to us physically and socially as we engage with a community that is closely connected to us and inspire local schools to engage in technology and engineering in creative ways whilst telling stories of local heros.
Visitors to the museum will be able to step outside the cafe which overlooks Biggin Hills historic airport where a permanent exterior-rated VR system is mounted to the ground and provides a fixed perspective replacement of the new runway view with a historical recreation.
Using 2 buttons connected to the system, visitors can make narrative choices to follow different stories, answer questions and learn both the historical stories but also be inspired by women in engineering today.
Accessible as a seated experience, users will position themselves at the binoculars and as they line up their eyes, the real-world around them will be replaced with a complete duplicate, incorporating the same landscape and familiar features, but without the 21st century buildings. As the experience develops, the landscape begins to incorporate 1940s service personnel, military structures and, of course, the Spitfire. A narrative voiceover begins to explain the significance of the scenes displayed and voices collated as part of the project will be used to share stories of the work the women undertook in servicing and flying Spitfires at Biggin Hill.
Developed to share the discoveries made during the interviews and research, the story will communicate life in 1940s Biggin Hill for a female engineer. Whilst the environment is broadly recreated as a virtual version of the 1940s site, the magic of XR content will come to play as it manipulates the world and transitions between areas of interest. As the entire environment is created virtually, it is possible to replace objects and darken areas to highlight the space referred to in the experience. The building obscuring the view to the left of the scene can be adapted to open up and reveal a WW2 hanger inside it. "Box-outs" or "picture in picture" can live in the air as a way of opening a portal to demonstrate an engineering principle or to play real world footage of the protagonists. The entire environment gets built on in front of you as an empty field becomes the inside of a flight operations centre and the role of the female navigators is explained with collections of their stories.
The experience will be made up of 4-6 separate stories and locations which are watched as part of a non-linear experience that users can choose how to navigate through. As they make their selections, the story moves into new locations within the frustum of the VR headset and choices are given to the user to help make them feel engaged in the story.
Copper Candle 2022 Showreel