Melbourne: You could soon walk with a dinosaur, and even pet it, thanks to scientists who for the first time are combining virtual reality and 3D printing to bring the prehistoric past back into life.
Researchers from the Deakin University in Australia are using technology to capture a paleontological dig in what used to be a Gondwanan riverbed.
Using technology of the future to dig up the history of the past, students are taking part in a paleontological dig that will use 3D and virtual reality to create a dinosaur you can touch.
"Were looking at how we can use virtual reality and 3D printing to help with providing educational experiences in a museum context," said Ben Hornan, from Deakins Virtual Reality Lab.
"Dinosaurs are something that excites most people. So we thought 3D printing, dinosaurs and virtual reality would be a great combination," said Horan.
The work will be displayed at Geelongs National Wool Museum in what researchers believe will be a world first, ABC News reported.
The centrepiece of the exhibition experience will be a 3D-printed dinosaur, based on one of the most complete skeletons ever found in Australia.
"In the museum with the virtual reality headset, which will provide you with audio and video, you can see inside, look around and see the dinosaur dig and then reach down and touch the tactile 3D-printed dinosaur," Hornan said.
The dinosaur is a small wallaby-like ornithopod called the Leaellynasaura, which lived in Victoria 100 million years ago.
Palaeontologists believe the Leaellynasaura had scaly skin like an eastern blue tongue lizard.