National Geographic Channel


Fig 602a. National Geographic Channel

Format: Website c.2015

Learn about the technologies of the future by navigating the first of its kind, web-based Virtual Reality  website.

Pivotal moments in history are often experienced firsthand only by the individuals who achieve these momentous feats, but National Geographic Channel’s Breakthrough series enables its viewers to witness history as it unfolds. Six notable Hollywood directors, including Ron Howard, Paul Giamatti, and Angela Basset, bring their own unique styles to episodes chronicling advancements in longevity, cyborg technology, water, energy, pandemics, and brain science. By exploring a myriad of developments on the cutting edge of science and technology, this epic series strives to reveal the world of tomorrow… today.

The Breakthrough virtual reality experience embodies the series philosophy by employing an interface that is both wondrous and forward-thinking; it immerses visitors in a stream of floating data and surrounds them with glimpses of sheer brilliance and the possibilities of a brighter future. The website was designed with the omnipresent digital devices of today in mind, so smartphones and tablets create handheld windows into the future by offering fluid, virtual reality-style motion and touch controls to navigate this dynamic world; tilt your phone down and left, and your view adjusts accordingly. 

Project Services

  • Strategy
  • User Experience
  • Conceptualization
  • R and D Prototyping
  • Copy and Content
  • Animation
  • Illustration
  • Sound Design
  • Video Production
  • Design
  • Development
  • Post Editorial

Building Breakthrough

A project of this scope requires an enormous amount of planning, trust, commitment, and precise execution from the entire team.

  • Pre-Production and Tracking

    Pre-Production and Tracking

    With hundreds of different assets and processes being developed concurrently by multiple team members, planning and tracking every step of the project is critical. We use both analog and digital tools to keep everything in order.

  • Designing for Multiple Platforms

    Designing for Multiple Platforms

    As a reflection of our increasingly mobile society, Breakthrough was designed for mobile devices first. Wireframes help us visualize and plan for multiple devices quickly, providing a clear path for desktop optimization after the mobile experience has been finalized.

  • Cinematic Presentation

    Cinematic Presentation

    Breakthrough features highly cinematic episodes directed by some of Hollywood's most recognizable talents, so the web experience was crafted to complement the rich visual and narrative style of the series. 

  • Groundbreaking Interface

    Groundbreaking Interface

    Inspired by the cutting-edge technology featured in Breakthrough, the web experience breaks new ground with fluid, intuitive motion controls on mobile devices. Use your smartphone or tablet and natural body movements to explore hours of rich content.

  • Seamless Scalability

    Seamless Scalability

    Although the mobile version was designed first, full-scale desktop exploration offers a larger view of finely crafted details. Whatever device you choose to use, you can enjoy an optimized browsing experience.

Visualizing the Future

A project so firmly rooted in the forefront of science and technology demanded a unique and compelling approach to delivering content, and the Breakthrough virtual reality experience delivers.

Crafted using inspiration from the cinematic style of the Breakthrough series, each topic page of the website intrigues visitors with a brief animated introduction that highlights the urgency and importance of the work. Glowing packets of information fly toward visitors through multiple layers of animation in 3D space, surrounding them with easily shareable content just waiting to be explored.

Complicated and occasionally abstract projects, such as a nuclear fusion reactor and a global virus research collaboration, are explained in simple terms to make them easily accessible to a broad audience. Many breakthroughs, such as the electricity-producing Atmospheric Vortex Engine and the CETO Project, are further described using demonstrative animated infographics.

Visionary researchers, doctors, and scientists who are working to make the world a better place tell of their own motivations and experiences in inspiring video and audio interviews. Dr. Steve Ramirez decided to study the brain after a family member lapsed into a coma. Dr. Mohamad Koubeissi may have stumbled upon the seat of human consciousness during an unrelated procedure. Dr. Miguel Nicolelis helped a paraplegic man perform the opening kick at the 2014 World Cup ceremony using a mind-controlled exoskeleton. The Breakthrough series is full of astonishing people, discoveries, and accomplishments, and they can all be explored using our innovative creation.