Manchester debuts immersive augmented reality walking tour

Manchester debuts immersive augmented reality walking tour
© James Truepenny

A smart cities demonstrator project in Manchester, UK, has developed an immersive augmented reality walking tour of the city.

As an element of the CityVerve smart city demonstrator, and developed in collaboration with Sparta Digital’s Buzzin app, the immersive augmented reality walking tour aims to highlight the history of innovation in Manchester by spotlighting many of the achievements and technological breakthroughs that have happened in the city.

Alongside this history, the app will also inform citizens about some of the pioneering developments which are being facilitated by CityVerve, which is working to drive the implementation of smart technologies throughout the city as it moves into the future.

What will the tour involve?

Users of the Buzzin smartphone app can travel around the city and interact with a series of 13 plaques which highlight in-app augmented reality experiences linked to GPS co-ordinates. The experiences themselves will involve virtual tour guides telling stories from the history of research and development in the city.

Each of these experiences links to a milestone innovation in Manchester’s history, and will lead app users through the city’s Oxford Road corridor, encouraging them to explore the city first hand. What’s more, the plaques have been created from recycled waste products, emphasising Manchester’s commitment to creating a smarter, more circular economy.

What are the advantages of the tour?

CityVerve has argued that the tour will inspire people in Manchester to follow in the footsteps of previous innovators, and that it will serve an important function in informing people both of the city’s pioneering history, and its current efforts to become a world leading smart city.

Rowena Burns, chair of Manchester Science Partnerships, which is one of the leading partners in CityVerve, hailed the project’s use of ground-breaking emerging technologies such as augmented reality.

She explained: “Augmented reality… uses computer generated imagery to bring ideas to life and allows the viewer to experience first-hand how innovation can change and improve our world. The new walking tour will encourage citizens and visitors to explore innovation on the Oxford Road corridor and highlight what CityVerve is doing to make Manchester the UK’s smartest smart city.”

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