BBC launches its first augmented reality app - Civilisations AR

We're thrilled to have started our augmented reality journey with Civilisations AR. The app enables users to explore an amazing range of exhibits, while enabling the BBC R&D team to experiment with a new technologyEleni Sharp, executive product manager, R&D
Date: 01.03.2018     Last updated: 02.03.2018 at 11.30
The BBC has launched its first augmented reality app, Civilisations AR. Developed by BBC Research & Development, BBC Arts and Nexus Studios, the app features over 30 fascinating artefacts from museums across the UK that have been digitally scanned and are now available to view in 3D as part of a new virtual exhibition.

Civilisations AR is available to download for free for iOS and Android now. It was developed as part of a major collaboration between the BBC and more than 30 museums and galleries as part of the Civilisations Festival

The app’s launch marks the beginning of new landmark arts and culture series, Civilisations, which begins on BBC Two tonight, following which the full series will be available to view on BBC iPlayer. The series follows presenters Simon Schama, Mary Beard and David Olusoga as they travel far and wide across six continents to find answers to fundamental questions about human creativity.

The app features a range of exhibits, including a 14th century Italian sculpture of Madonna and Child from the National Museum of Scotland; Turner’s painting Bridge Over The Moselle, from the Oldham Museum and Art Gallery; an ancient Egyptian mummy from the Torquay Museum; and the Rosetta Stone from the British Museum. It highlights the treasures of a diverse range of UK museums and galleries and allows people across the globe to discover these remarkable objects and explore them 'out of the display case', no matter where they may live.

At the heart of the Civilisations AR experience is a core ‘magic spotlight’ feature, which allows users to uncover annotations, audio and imagery that enrich to the story of each exhibit. An X-ray function lets users see through or inside an object, while a restoration feature can be used to rub through the layers of history. Users can browse the exhibition geographically, using an AR globe, or via the themes of the series, as new exhibits will be added as the series progresses.

Eleni Sharp, executive product manager for BBC R&D, says: "We're thrilled to have started our augmented reality journey with Civilisations AR. The app enables users to explore an amazing range of exhibits, while enabling the BBC R&D team to experiment with a new technology and test how a new format can complement a linear show. However, this is just the first outing for the app. We've designed and built it to be a totally reusable product, and we will be looking to use develop more AR projects in the future once we have had the chance to analyse the data from this one."

Exhibits included in Civilisations AR:

Artefact

Museum

Location Origin

Year

The Clonmore Shrine

 

Ulster Museum, Belfast

United Kingdom

650

Tea Pot

 

Ulster Museum, Belfast

United Kingdom

1808

Carved Ivory Salt Cellar

 

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Nigeria

1550

Madonna and Child

 

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Italy

1350

The Kiss by Rodin

 

National Museum Wales, Cardiff

France

1898

Crested Firedog

 

National Museum Wales, Cardiff

United Kingdom

50

Hippo Bowl

 

Manchester Museum, Manchester

Egypt

3500 BCE

Sundial from first railway station

Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester

United Kingdom

1830

Bridge over the Ticino by Turner

Gallery Oldham, Oldham

Switzerland

1842

Tang Dynasty Horse

 

Gallery Oldham, Oldham

China

 

Ebenezer Elliot bust

 

Barnsley Museum, Barnsley

United Kingdom

1800

Zeus Ammon

 

World Museum, Liverpool

Egypt

100

Statuette of Horus the Child

World Museum, Liverpool

Egypt

300 BCE

Lady Emma Hamilton as aBacchante by Vigée-Le Brun

 

Lady Lever Art Gallery, Wirral

United Kingdom

1782

Gandahar Sculpture

 

Oriental Museum, Durham

Pakistan

200

Roman Statue of Mars

 

The Yorkshire Museum, York

United Kingdom

 

Open Work Head by Moore

 

The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield

United Kingdom

1936

Reclining Figure by Moore

The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield

United Kingdom

1934

Mother & Child by Hepworth

The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield

United Kingdom

1963

Christ Washing Disciple’s Feet by Tintoretto

Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead

Italy

1547

Ogoni Mask

 

Derby Museum and Art Gallery, Derby

Nigeria

1900

Oak Samson Statue

 

Norfolk Museum, Norwich

United Kingdom

c.1600

Corinthian Helmet

 

Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter

Greece

1000 BCE

Gelede Mask

 

Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter

Nigeria

1850

Peruvian Stirrup Stout Pot

Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter

Peru

1450

Roundway Beaker

 

Wiltshire Museum, Wiltshire

United Kingdom

2000 BCE

Divination Bowl

 

Bristol Museum, Bristol

Nigeria

c.1860

Corinium Cockeral

 

Corinium Museum, Cirencester

United Kingdom

150

Mummy in Egyptian Coffin

Torquay Museum, Torquay

Egypt

 

The Rosetta Stone

 

The British Museum, London

Egypt

196 BCE

Roman Hunter God

 

Cuming Museum, London

United Kingdom

150

Gold Trophy Head

 

 

The Wallace Collection, London

Ghana

1850

The Blood of the Redeemer by Bellini

 

National Gallery, London

Italy

c.1460

Japanese Gun Powder Flask

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Japan

1640

Octopus Storage Jar

 

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Greece

1400 BCE

Reliquary Casket of St Thomas Beckett

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

France

1200

Red Figure Neck Amphora

The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Greece

470 BCE

Iznik Jug

 

The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Turkey

1592

Māori ‘God Stick’ Tiki Wanaga

Colchester and Ipswich Museums, Colchester

New Zealand

 

Titus Flavius Demetrius

 

Colchester and Ipswich Museums, Colchester

Egypt

 

Native American Mask

 

Colchester and Ipswich Museums, Colchester

USA

 

RB