The BBC has been working with virtual reality (VR) for sometime now creating apps like Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel and The Turning Forest, as well as bringing Doctor Who into VR. Today, the broadcaster is taking another leap into the world of immersive entertainment by announcing its first augmented reality (AR) app, Civilisations AR.
Developed by BBC Research & Development and Nexus Studios, the app is part of a major collaboration between the BBC and more than 30 museums from across the UK and to mark the launch of new landmark arts and culture series, Civilisations.
Major themes from the new Civilisations series will be incorporated into the AR app enabling people to explore some of the most important exhibits from UK museums in the comfort of their living rooms. They’ll be able to view, explore and discover a range of fascinating artefacts have been digitally scanned like an ancient Egyptian mummy from the Torquay Museum, Rodin’s The Kiss from the National Museum of Wales, The Umbrian Madonna and Child from the National Museum of Scotland.
The app will include several unique features, including ‘magic spotlight’, allowing users to uncover annotations, audio and imagery that enrich the story of each exhibit; X-ray, to see through or inside an object; Restoration, to rub through the layers of history, bringing lustre to a metal chalice or colour to a faded sculpture; and Navigation, where users can browse the exhibition geographically using an AR globe or via the themes of the series.
“The Civilisations Festival has opened BBC R&D up in a brand new way. Not only has it brought innovative digital tools and skills to hundreds of museums, galleries, libraries, archives and other arts organisations from all over the UK, it has enabled us to trial our ideas and technologies on a huge scale which is going to influence and inform our work over the coming months and years,” said Eleni Sharp, executive product manager for BBC R&D in a statement. “The work we’ve done with these organisations will enable fans of the series new ways to engage with art and cultural artefacts from across the country. The BBC’s first ever AR app is a great example of this, offering users the ability to explore a personal, virtual exhibition of fascinating pieces whenever and wherever they want.”