The Virtual Cyclorama in a Head Mounted Display

Cardboard Animation

With your smartphone and Google Cardboard you can enter the Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama in virtual reality.

The conventional virtual tour presents the user-navigable VR space on the screen of a computer or hand-held device. The user sees this as a narrow segment of their visual environment, and must stare at the screen and interact with it by using a mouse, or by dragging on the screen with a finger.

The head-mounted display (HMD), on the other hand, completely dominates the visual field of the user. It therefore isolates them from the distractions of the actual physical environment and encompasses the entire field of view, including the peripheral visual space, with the virtual-reality experience. Navigation is immediate and intuitive; move your head and/or rotate your body to explore the 360° virtual space.

Using a Head-Mounted Display

If you have a HMD device such as the Oculus, or one of the Windows Mixed Reality devices, you will be able to access the virtual-reality Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama using a WebVR-compliant browser, such as Mircosoft Edge. At this time (2021) there is no HMD compatible with the Mac OS. We developed the HMD VR Cyclorama using the Acer Windows Mixed Reality headset.

To view the HMD VR Cyclorama using one of these high-end ($400–$600+) headsets is a sensory revelation; it seemed that we were experiencing the canvas from a position within the painted battlefield. If you own one, or know someone—perhaps a gamer—with such a device, or if you are able to access one at your local library or college campus, click on the image below to enter the HMD VR experience.

Using Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard

Combine your smartphone with Google Cardboard to make an inexpensive HMD.

Not nearly as immersive is the simple fold-along-the-dotted-line solution called Google Cardboard. With Google Cardboard, your smartphone becomes the display screen. You can purchase a packaged kit for around $15.

Once you have assembled your Google Cardboard, before inserting your smartphone, touch the image below to enter the HMD version of the Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama virtual tour. Then you can place your smartphone into your Google Cardboard and explore the Cyclorama. To navigate within the scene, just turn around in a circle.

Gettysburg VR

If you have your Google Cardboard or your HMD ready,
touch or click the image above to load the Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama.
On your smartphone, touch this icon to enable your phone’s motion sensors.
Then touch this icon to enable the dual-view display. To modify the display, touch the screen to reveal the settings menu.
Put your phone into the Google Cardboard. To navigate, simply turn around in a circle.