Peek into the city’s past and future with AR APP

Spinnaker Tower has partnered with the University of Portsmouth to discover how cutting-edge augmented reality (AR) technology could provide visitors with a glimpse of the city’s past, present and possible future.

Experts from the University’s new £7 million Centre for Creative and Immersive eXtended Realities (CCIXR) created “Spinnaker AR,” as part of its eXRe: Enabling XR Enterprise project, a government-funded scheme to help organisations explore the business potential of XR technology.

The proof of concept app allows visitors to use an Android mobile device to view enhanced scenes from the tower’s main viewing deck.

The demo shows how the app could include reconstructed footage of the Tudor warship the Mary Rose, dogfighting planes battling over the sea during World War II, and even a speculative peek at what the city’s landscape may look like in the future.

Spinnaker AR also demonstrates how drone footage captured from the height of the viewing deck could be used to “fill in” the back wall of the tower, turning its stunning 350-degree view into a 360-degree experience.

Tony Sammut, General Manager at Spinnaker Tower, said: “As an iconic attraction in the heart of Portsmouth we are always excited to partner with institutions and organisations in the city, and were intrigued to hear about the opportunities available through developments in AR technology.

“Although it’s at the concept stage at the moment, it’s been fascinating to collaborate with the University of Portsmouth and to see how AR could add a new layer to the ever-changing, 23-mile views visitors enjoy every day from our viewing decks.

Pippa Bostock, CCIXR’s Business Director, said: “Visitor attractions face a constant challenge to attract new and returning customers, and XR technology offers so many possibilities to excite and engage visitors of all ages.

“We were excited to work with Spinnaker Tower as one of our six eXRe partners, and this app has so much potential for future development.

“Its viewing deck already has the wow factor of its sky-high, 23-mile views, and our AR app unlocks new ways for visitors to explore and engage with what they can see from the Tower and discover the area’s highlights and heritage.”

Throughout 2022, the University of Portsmouth’s Centre for Creative & Immersive Extended Reality has been working with hundreds of businesses and organisations in the region as part of the eXRe Project, supported by the government’s UK Community Renewal Fund.

It worked with the project’s six key partners – Spinnaker Tower, Victorious Festival, The Mary Rose Museum, The D-Day Story, Gosport Borough Council and Aspex – to see how AR technology can be used to enhance the visitor experience and boost the number of people coming into the city.

Spinnaker Tower, which soars 170m above Portsmouth Harbour and offers spectacular 23-mile views, is the iconic landmark of Portsmouth’s waterfront skyline.

Augmented Reality QR code