Unicorn of the Sea: Narwhal
CWRU SCHOOL OF DENTAL MEDICINE + SMITHSONIAN + IC, 2019
REVEALING NATURE’S MYSTERIES WITH MERYL STREEP
CWRU dental medicine alumnus Martin Nweeia is the foremost expert in narwhals, the unique marine mammal with a large spiral tusk that happens to be a tooth.
After curating an exhibit for the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Nweeia learned about his alma-mater’s work with HoloLens and saw the technology as an ideal way to share knowledge from indigenous experts and others about this remarkable creature.
With support from the National Science Foundation, and narration provided by award-winning actress Meryl Streep, Nweeia and other collaborators worked with the IC to design a self-guided HoloLens experience that explains the role of the tusk, or rather, tooth, as a sensory organ that gauges temperature and salinity of its ocean environment.
During the experience, HoloLens wearers meet an Inuit elder in the arctic, get transported to the bottom of the ocean to watch life-sized narwhals swim, and even play a game to learn how narwhals hunt and eat (hint: they don’t stab it with their tusk!).
The IC joined Nweeia at the Smithsonian in October 2019 to debut the narwhal app for patrons during a family game night highlighting the arctic.