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Can Art Help Save Marine Life? Socio-Ecological Artist Designs Coral Reefs Using VR


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A coral reef designed by Colleen Flanigan.

A self-described socio-ecological artist used Google's Tilt Brush app to create a "living sculpture" that she hopes will revive coral communities.

Credit: Colleen Flanigan

Socio-ecological artist Colleen Flanigan has used Google's Tilt Brush app to create a "living sculpture" that she hopes will revive coral communities.

The steel sculpture, dubbed Zoe, has become a living coral reef on the sea floor in Cozumel, Mexico.

A low-voltage current charges the underwater structure, causing deposits of sea minerals on its surface that become a natural substrate to which corals can adhere.

Tilt Brush enables users to paint in three dimensions using a virtual reality (VR) headset, two hand-held controllers, and a gaming PC.

In collaboration with IMC Lab's James Tunick, Flanigan converts her metal reef models into VR, then loads her designs into Tilt Brush, where she can add imaginary fish and corals to simulate the evolution of the living habitat.

Flanigan is now working on an augmented reality piece to simulate changes to the environment from rising sea levels.

From CNN
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