360o video-immersive experience in circular dome & digital exhibits inaugurated at Rajghat

Union Minister for Science & Technology Dr. Harsh Vardhan along with Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge) Shri Prahlad Singh Patel inaugurated 360o video-immersive experience in circular dome and digital exhibits on Mahatma Gandhi at Gandhi Darshan, Rajghat, on November 6, 2020. The 8-meter Dome has the capabilities of a 3D immersive experience of Gandhi ji’s life events and has a capacity of accommodating 40 viewers (seated) or about 60 (standing).  

Dr. Harsh Vardhan appreciated the efforts of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and said that Mahatama Gandhi’s messages is more relevant today, and the Union Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to using his teachings to build a new India with the help of Science and Technology. "Science and Technology was one of the basic foundations of Gandhi ji's vision towards welfare of our countrymen, and our Government is committed towards this goal. Our Prime Minister has talked about Social Scientific Responsibility, which includes Gandhi ji's vision for using science and technology for welfare and betterment of people and paving the way for the future", he said.

Lauding the efforts of the DST, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel said, "DST has done a brilliant job to link science and technology with culture. Today people are more inclined towards digital medium, and it is a great initiative to spread the teachings and vision of Gandhi ji using science and technology".

Secretary DST Prof Ashutosh Sharma said that the 360o video-immersive experience is a collaborative effort of the DST and the Ministry of Culture, and in future, DST is ready to reach out and help any Ministry and department for such collaborative initiatives.

Secretary, Ministry of Culture Raghvendra Singh and Director, Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Smriti Dipanker Shri Gyan were also present.    

All Ministries and Departments have been commemorating the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi from 2nd October 2018 to 2nd October 2020 through events and activities and also developed various demonstrable products. 

Department of Science & Technology (DST) considered Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) as very powerful tools that could get the message of Gandhiji to the youth of India and inculcate Gandhian values among youth so as to make them a potent force for nation-building.  To commemorate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, DST used these tools and developed a 360o video-immersive experience in a circular dome at Gandhi Darshan, Rajghat, in association with the Ministry of Culture, which provided the required space of 15m x 15m at Gandhi Darshan for the purpose.

It was aimed to create a digital and virtual reality (VR) experience based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi.  In order to provide the video-immersive experience, four films on the life of Mahatma Gandhi (both Hindi & English versions) each of 10-minute duration with the following titles have been produced -

  1. Mohan to Mahatma
  2. The Last Phase
  3. Freedom from Fear 
  4. Gandhi Forever and a combined film of all four

In addition to the dome experience, DST through Vigyan Prasar, an Autonomous Institute under DST, took up the task of setting up of Digital Exhibits on Mahatma Gandhi at 17 locations throughout the country - 15 museums under National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) and 2 locations under Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti (GSDS), New Delhi at Gandhi Darshan and Gandhi Smriti, New Delhi through various digital and virtual means with funding from Ministry of Culture. 

Content from Gandhi archives such as photos, videos, audio interviews, etc. were processed into digital formats to make the films screened in the 360o dome.  The content used for the digital and virtual display has been created under the supervision of GSDS under the Ministry of Culture.  The types of display used for digital and virtual exhibition are the following: 

  1. Smart Interface for Multiuser Engagement (2 units)
  2. Smart Surface (4 units)
  3. Virtual Holographic Display (2 units)
  4. Transparent display  (2 units)

The themes available for display are:

  1. Mahatma Gandhi’s Vision, his life & Transformation to become ‘Mahatma’;
  2. The Freedom Movements led by Gandhi chronicles of his travels, Satyagraha and his thoughts;
  3. Associates of Gandhi, people who inspired Gandhi and those following his footsteps;
  4. Contemporary Relevance of Gandhi, his influence in modern world;
  5. The Final Journey, Tributes to Gandhi and
  6. Series of ‘Vaishnav-jan to’ videos by the Ministry of External Affairs celebrating 150 years of Mahatma.

The 360o dome project has been implemented by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, and the digital and virtual display project at 17 locations has been implemented by Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous institution under DST.