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Iconic Jerusalem Site Fuses Past, Present, and Future

Virtual reality at Tower of David (Photo: Judy Lash Balint)

The land of Israel is one whose past is historically and biblically rich. But so, too, is it a place with a proud present and a very promising future. JNS' Judy Lash Balint writes about how past, present, and future are coming together at the Tower of David, where virtual reality technology is providing a unique experience for the holy site's many visitors:

In October, the Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem hosted an event featuring a forthcoming Innovation Lab that’s a showcase and incubator for the kind of interactive high-tech that museums need to remain relevant for visitors.

The lab—housed in the Pasha Hall, one of the rooms of the Phasael Tower, built by King Herod 2,000 years ago—will offer workspace, equipment and a real-time beta site for a constellation of Israeli virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) start-ups, providing content and support as well as a test market for their products. The initiative is sponsored by JNext, a joint project of the Jerusalem Development Authority, Israel’s Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, and the Jerusalem municipality.

One of the start-ups, Inception VR, launched its Tower of David VR experience on Oct. 25. (The full Innovation Lab opens to the public on Jan. 1, 2018.) Visitors can navigate around an interactive map of the site and explore the medieval fortress with one of its previous residents. A Crusader knight guides you to locations around the citadel, explains the history of surrounding landmarks using 3D models and weaves his personal story into the narrative. The Inception app is available across many platforms, including Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Microsoft MR, Samsung Gear, Google Daydream, iOS and Android...

Tags: Life in Israel

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Landscape photo of Jerusalem with the Dome of the Rock in the foreground.

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