Channel 4 - 24 Hours in A&E Virtual Tour
We were commissioned by Channel 4 to produce a virtual tour of the King's College A&E department, to support the award winning "24 Hours in A&E" series. Working with the client to visit the department at a time which would cause the least disruption, we took a series of high-resolution 360° panoramas of key locations featured in the programme.
The challenge was to turn these panoramas into a virtual tour of the department which worked not only on desktop computers, but on iPads and iPhones as well. As well as displaying the panoramas themselves, we were including information about the rooms being visited, information hotspots about the items in the rooms, and specially shot video interviews with the show's participants. It also had to integrate with Channel 4's video player and web analytics.
We designed an interface which was highly adaptive to account for the many permutations of desktop, phone, tablet, portrait, landscape, retina, non-retina, fullscreen, iframed and devices with/without gyroscopes which the tour had to work on.
We used the krpano software, which takes care of the heavy lifting of displaying 360° content, and provides a scripting language for adding interactivity across both platforms (Flash and iOS). But, with a complicated interface and content which wasn't going to be confirmed until the last minute, we had to stretch the software to its limits to deliver a slick and usable cross-platform experience.
The result is impressive, and works particularly well on iOS devices, where it pushes the boundaries to deliver app-like performance and multimedia interactivity within the mobile Safari browser. The iPhone specific interface provides controls which are easy to operate via touch, without losing any of the content available on the desktop version. The richness of the images and experience on the iPad version particularly provides a wonderfully slick and natural way to explore the panoramas. It even takes advantage of the gyroscopes in more recent hardware (iPhone 4+ and iPad 2+) to allow you to explore the scenes by holding up your device and moving it around, augmented reality-style.