Treasures on show in university’s 3D gallery

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Secret treasures from Sheffield University can now be enjoyed by visitors from all over the world thanks to the creation of a new online 3D art gallery.

Computer scientists Professor Guy Brown and Dr Steve Maddock have teamed up with cult designers Nick Bax and Dan Fleetwood to create the virtual gallery which people can walk round just as they would in real life.

They can either use their keyboard and mouse, or the groundbreaking Oculus Rift 3D Virtual Reality headset and a game controller.

The gallery called Computer Love 2.0 features key exhibits from three collections - The Alfred Denny Museum, The Turner Museum of Glass and the National Fairground Archive.

Artefects include the giant skull of an extinct man-sized eagle and the minute skeleton of a tiny, flying dinosaur.

There is an area devoted to digitized copies of ‘half-specimens’ of squirrels and armadillos, where on one side guests can see a lifelike critter, and on the other its exposed skeleton.

Guests to The National Fairground Archive rooms enter through a huge, gaping mouth and find themselves in a space filled with sand, deckchairs and illusory mirrors.

As they walk through a virtual 19th century ghost train experience, the period music of a funfair eerily plays in the background.

In the Turner section is a real-life Cinderella slipper, which was made out of fibreglass in the 1940s for a bride to wear down the aisle.

Dr Maddock said: “We have created this gallery to give the rest of the world a digital ‘taster’ of the university’s most important cultural collections.

“We wanted to find a way to ensure that they were no longer confined to their physical location.”