Dongcheng Han on the computer
April 17, 2020

New dimensions in art

Student creates virtual stroll through the Addison Gallery
by Jill Clerkin

Some parents might be dismissive of their 10-year-old’s fascination with video gaming, but Dongcheng Han’s mother and father opted instead to support his interests by taking the youngster to emerging technology conventions. “That’s when I became fascinated by the authentic world in virtual reality,” says Dongcheng, now a ninth-grader at Phillips Academy.

Over time, his parents helped Dongcheng acquire the basic equipment needed to create his own projects—a MacBook, a VR headset, and a Matterport 3-D camera system. What came next was all initiative and hard work: a virtual tour of the Addison Gallery’s first-floor exhibitions.

This past fall and winter I rode my bike from Bertha Bailey House to campus many times, often right past the Addison Gallery. After touring on my own several times, I thought it would be fascinating to create a virtual tour to share the exhibitions with prospective students and others who might not be able to visit.

Dongcheng Han '23

“We loved Dongcheng’s idea and his enthusiasm,” says Allison Kemmerer, interim director of the Addison. “After consulting with our security team, we gave him the go-ahead. This was before COVID-19 took hold, so we had no idea just how valuable his tour would be in promoting the museum while we are closed.”

Dongcheng began the project on March 6 and finished in less than a month. “Scanning with my 3-D camera took about a week,” he says. “It was very tiring and involved moving the camera non-stop.” In the editing process, he had to assemble each scan into a cohesive 3-D map and then send it to a cloud server for rendering and detailed calculations.

“My entrepreneurship is based on virtual reality and education,” Dongcheng explains. “Since the VR industry is not yet mature to the point of having teachers, I have discovered and self-taught along the way.” In the past two years he has designed VR games and created several other tours of local museums and businesses.

Currently in Shanghai with his family, Dongcheng says he misses “the awesome people at PA,” but remains connected with friends and faculty through his online studies.

Next year, along with his regular studies, Dongcheng hopes to create a companion tour of the Addison’s second-floor galleries, a tour of the Peabody Institute, and—with friends and classmates—a VR stream to give prospective students a multidimensional view of student life at Andover.

“The most fun,” he says, “is when people say they like my product.”

Categories: Arts, Magazine, Magazine Online

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