Smart phones, iPads welcome to interact with feathered dinosaurs

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Witte Museum exhibits new discoveries in paleontology.

By Kevin W. Pang

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

The Kathleen and Curtis Gunn Gallery at the Witte Museum will be showcasing “Dinosaurs Unearthed: Bigger. Better. Feathered” beginning Saturday through Sept. 2.

The museum will use augmented reality in the exhibit, which takes the current  technology that outputs stimuli for the five human senses and translates them into the real world environment.

Augmented reality is known as a sixth sense in the technology world and has already been used in cell phones.

HowStuffWorks.com describes augmented reality as information for restaurants, contacts and distance to the destination is displayed when a smartphone camera scans a street.

The exhibit includes nine augmented reality stations equipped with two iPads.

Scanning a marker by the display reveals the dinosaur’s anatomy layer by layer.

Visitors can look at the dinosaur’s skeletal structure, muscle tissue, external features as well as temperature regulation.

The Witte Museum encourages visitors to bring their own devices capable of augmented reality, such as an iPad, iPhone or Android devices.

Those visitors can download a free application from the display and enjoy the experience on their personal device as opposed to waiting in line for an iPad.

According to the Witte Museum website, the exhibit will include complete skeletons, fossils and a paleontological dig site where visitors can excavate fossils and tracks.

Augmented reality stations will show the dinosaur fossil’s bones as hollow, suggesting some dinosaurs were capable of flight.

Also found in the fossils were impressions of feathers, as thick as an inch and a half, according to the Discovery program “Dinosaurs: Kinship to Birds.”

Feathers discovered in fossils do not necessarily mean every dinosaur was capable of flight but could be used as a means of thermoregulation, which is a method that living creatures use to maintain their body temperature and as well as finding a mate.

Hours of operation for the exhibit are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday and Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.

Admission for ages 3 or younger is free, children ages 4-11 is $7, and ages 12-64 is $10. Seniors ages 65 and older and active duty military personnel are $9.

In addition to museum general admission, there will be a $5 surcharge for access to the exhibit.

For more information, call Shannon H. Standley, director of communications at the Witte Museum, at 210-422-8661 or visit wittemuseum.org/index.php/exhibits.

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