Sky Factory uses tech to bring soothing virtual sea life to Children’s Hospital

[Aside from being interesting and engaging, presence technology that brings nature into our human-made environments can have therapeutic effects. This press release from Archinect features three more images; Sky Factory has more information and the aquarium videos, and another release at Archinect contains more information about Sky Factory products and the rationale for their effectiveness. –Matthew]

SkyFactory's eSea at Tennessee hospital

[Image: Designed as a portal into larger underwater environments, eSea captures the therapeutic benefits of Heraclitean Motion, the familiar, yet random movement of living systems.]

Sky Factory and the Tennessee Aquarium Make an ēSea™ Splash at the T. C. Thompson Children’s Hospital at Erlanger

June 16, 2015 – The Sky Factory and the Tennessee Aquarium collaborated to bring ēSea, a Digital Cinema underwater portal to marine habitats, to the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, the 1st of its kind in the state. The partnership enabled the Sky Factory to film the Tennessee’s aquarium’s largest and most beautiful exhibit, the Secret Reef, as well as the Reelfoot Lake and the Flooded Amazon River exhibits.

“We are extremely grateful for the support of the Tennessee Aquarium and The Sky Factory for allowing our patients and guests to benefit from not only a visual experience but also an educational experience by taking our patients and guests to various underwater worlds,” said Cindy Rhodes, Chief Nursing Officer at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger. “Providing a natural diversion will certainly have an impact on the child’s and parents’ hospital experience.”

ēSea was designed to provide the visually soothing, therapeutic benefits of living underwater environments—restoring emotional balance, reducing anxiety, and lowering blood pressure—while submerging the observer in a deeper experience, one that enlivens our innate, genetic-based need to bond with living systems (called biophilia) by bringing the beauty of sea creatures safely indoors.

Research indicates that restorative environments, those healing to the human physiology, are defined by a nature connection. Marine life in particular exerts an alluring hold on our collective imagination.

“There are many regulated environments where setting up a live aquarium is both a health hazard and a costly feature to maintain” says Skye Witherspoon, CEO of The Sky Factory. “Using the vivid realism of biophilic illusions we can simulate underwater habitats without the burden of real tanks.”

Using a sophisticated RED Digital Cinema camera, skilled videographers were able to film exotic species like Green Turtles, sharks, and colorful saltwater fish in the Secret Reef exhibit; crappie, sunfish, sturgeons and Map turtles in the Reelfoot Lake exhibit; and peacock bass, Tambaqui, catfish, and giant South American turtles in the Amazon River exhibit. As a high-tech illusion, ēSea is recorded in UltraHD, then mastered and playback in high bit rate full HD, lending a visual realism that renders scenes beyond blu ray quality.

“We could not have received such high quality cinematography without the support of the Tennessee Aquarium,” said Jeff Johnson, The Sky Factory’s design specialist. “Chattanooga’s aquarium provided us with three gorgeous and diverse subjects, and what better place to debut them than in one of the nation’s largest public hospitals and the region’s only Children’s Hospital.”

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