People can now peak behind the scenes and see the production of the coins we all carry in our pockets thanks to an application developed by Virtuplex.
The Czech Mint now offers people in Prague the opportunity to mint koruna coins thanks to a virtual reality application that anyone can try in the Mint’s office in Havelská ulice. The app was co-developed by Virtuplex, and it allows the public to experience the minting of coins without visiting the Czech Mint facility in Jablonec nad Nisou.
“We use the Oculus Quest headset for the application made by Meta (Facebook). It’s a piece of gear that can simply offer VR anywhere. They allow the Czech Mint to show the minting process not only at its office, but also at exhibitions. For this application, we decided to allow everything to be controlled by the user’s hands. You don’t need to hold a controller with a bunch of buttons where you can get confused. Select your language at the beginning, and then view a short introduction that shows how to make selections from the menu and which gestures to use in the environment. There is help in the application itself that guides you, and you can try intuitive commands, take items into your hands, and manipulate them,” Virtuplex’s Martin Albrecht said of the application.
What benefits does it provide to the Czech Mint? What is included in the app? And why did the Czech Mint ask Virtuplex to develop the application? Czech Mint Marketing Director Jaroslav Černý answered these questions and more.
What comprises the application?
It’s separated into four parts. In the first, the user is in front of a press that makes CZK 50 coins. You can pick up one of the coins, examine it, and then throw it back. In the second part you mint your own silver or gold coin with a Czech lion. You will basically become a press operator at the mint. You take a planchet, place it into the press, push a button, mint the coin, then check its quality under a
magnifying glass, and then place it into a capsule. The third part displays the emission plan that is updated every three months. The headset shows you 3D coins that will be minted in the coming period. Whatever we have in print can be examined by the user in life size to gain a better idea of what we do. The fourth part is more presentational and contains the Czech Mint’s videos.
Where can people try the application?
Right now, we are testing the application with the VR headset in a pilot project in our store on Prague’s Havelská ulice. People can register beforehand in weekend timeslots between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. They can made reservations by email or in person.
What makes the application a unique experience?
You can touch a coin in the app, while you can only look at them during a regular visit. You also can’t mint your own coin in regular operations where the professionals work. This is all an extra bonus.
Where did the idea for the application come from?
The original idea came last year. We went to look at the Virtuplex to see the Czech pavilion for EXPO 2020, which we also took part in. We realized that we can present the mint anywhere in the world using virtual reality. That was the first impulse, and we began working and developing it with Virtuplex.
What were the reasons behind the application’s development?
One of the reasons was the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns where our stores were closed and we looked for new ways of staying in touch with our customers. We wanted to offer the customer the opportunity to peak into the mint without having to go to Jablonce nad Nisou. Unfortunately, frequent visits to the mint itself aren’t possible because of operational and security reasons. This is a way to invite the customer into our environment and show them how coins are made while offering the user the option of creating their own coin.
How would you evaluate the final application?
I was surprised at just how real virtual reality can be. When I had the chance to try the headset on myself, I really had the feeling that I am standing inside the mint by the press without any sort of distortion.