The National Centre for Computer Animation of Bournemouth University has been participating in this project by providing research and development on digital content, supporting VR and AR possibilities using university expertise in computer animation.
Advanced digital technologies will inform visitor preferences for various tourist experiences. The project also seeks to explore the use of different digital devices to create new immersive visitor experiences. Virtual reality helmets, tablet/smartphone devices and immersive room experiences will be used to bring history to life, allowing visitors to meet characters from the past and providing access to previously inaccessible heritage artefacts.
The BU research team aim to develop generic tools to understand visitor experiences, together with AR/VR tools to script new digital interpretations. Once developed, the digital tools will be used to create new digital experiences in a further four locations: the National Trust tin coast, and South West Coastal Path in the UK, and the Lorient Submarine Museum and the Gardens of Valloires in France.
Project coordinator, Professor Jian Chang, of the Faculty of Media & Communication, says:
“Vista AR provides a unique opportunity to research, develop and explore new technologies and their usage within heritage sites. It has forged cross-channel collaboration with multiple disciplinary expertise in business, VR/AR, GPS tracing, data mining and digital content generation. We are proud that the development will be trialled at a few sites (Exeter Cathedral, Fougere Castle National Trust – Botallack mine) to bring a variety of visitor experiences to life.”
The project is focused on generating new and repeat visitors to cultural heritage sites in an attempt to make an impact on regional economies. The tools developed by the project will be made available to other UK and French cultural heritage sites on a cloud-based system where they can be easily accessed and adapted to the needs of each specific heritage location.
VISTA AR is a major step in providing cultural heritage sites with an effective way to enhance visitor experiences while increasing visitor numbers and revenue.