VR Time Machine for Helsinki City Museum


The new Helsinki City Museum is major attraction in downtown Helsinki. Tourists and locals visit the award-winning museum to learn about the city’s history in a series of interactive, tactile and immersive exhibits.

The museum did not have a clear concept of what the time machine actually should be and what aspects of it potential visitors would find attractive. Also, the museum wanted to design with the latest methods and experts in service design.

Futurice took charge of the design project and introduced its Lean Service Creation methodology to the museum. With a small team of experts from the museum and Futurice, the design project was done in a record breaking seven consecutive working days. After the 7 days, the museum had interviewed close to 80 people, processed over 100 ideas, created several prototypes, and landed on three concepts.

Futurice and the museum co-created, from concept to permanent exhibit, a physical space that takes visitors back in time to experience and juxtapose the city as it once was and is today. The project combines 360 video, old stereo pictures and sound design using Oculus Rift technology to offer a VR experience where users can alternate between modern and old views of selected spots of Helsinki.

The project was opened to the public as part of a larger Time Machine event, and close to 700 people visited the event and used the prototypes and interacted with the project ideas.