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York Launches World’s First Hologram City App

Hologram Press Launch 190713

11:30am 19th July 2013
(Updated 2:32pm 19th July 2013)

The City of York is embracing a cutting-edge invention that brings the past to life right in front of your eyes. Revolutionary smartphone technology called UltraReality is allowing visitors to enjoy hologram performances by historic characters that pop up out of the very fabric of the city’s ancient buildings.

City of York Council and the Yorkshire Air Museum have harnessed this breakthrough technology – developed in the city – to create the York Hologram Tour app, the world’s first city tour to use hologram guides as part of an innovative business venture.

Called the ‘City of York Hologram Tour’ app, it’s available to download free from the Apple App Store now - and soon from Google Play - to guide visitors around the city with hologram appearances. Smartphone users who want to enjoy the complete tour pay just £2.99 to unlock the full collection of historic holograms, each giving their personal take on York’s fascinating history.

The City of York Council app features hologram characters which appear around the city. Besides Richard III’s breathless valet who breaks the news of his master’s death at Bosworth, there’s the bullish ‘Railway King’ George Hudson, as well as Gunpowder Plot perpetrator Guy Fawkes and Dick Turpin’s hangman.

The Yorkshire Air Museum, the first Museum in the world to feature this technology, has trigger points where characters and their stories will come alive in a historic setting, keeping the Museum at the forefront of the digital revolution.

Visitors can discover 19th century Yorkshire aviation pioneer Sir George Cayley, ‘bouncing bomb’ innovator Sir Barnes Wallis, legendary aviator Amy Johnson and famous Air Transport Auxiliary pilot Lettice Curtis, the first woman to fly a four engine heavy bomber.

York-based digital experts Appeartome have used their breakthrough technique called UltraReality (patent pending) to recognise locations and to automatically trigger performances of people – anchored to the spot as though they are really there with you – directly on the phone’s screen. Once the holograms have completed their performance, they can be photographed alongside the app user or their friends, and the shots can be emailed or posted on twitter or facebook at the touch of a button.

The free version of the City of York Council app features four holograms and provides both live 2D street plans and dynamic 3D augmented reality maps to effortlessly guide users, metre by metre, to the nearest hologram trigger point as well as to the city’s top attractions and great places to eat and drink. While for the price of a decent cup of coffee – just £2.99 – the full tour app can be downloaded complete with twenty two, 90-second holograms, providing the visitor with up to two days of unique exploration opportunities around the UK’s favourite city destination.

City of York Council say that revenue from advertising retailers and attractions will be divided between Appeartome and the council and the app’s capability will be expanded in the future.

Councillor James Alexander, leader of City of York Council, said: “When you aim a smartphone at a trigger point, lock onto it and see the hologram appear, it generates a whole new interactive experience that takes your view of York to a different level. Together with our trial city centre wi-fi that will be extended, this app has so much potential for the future – we’re really excited about it.”

Councillor Sonja Crisp, City of York Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said: “City of York Hologram Tour app is poised to broaden the visitor experience of the city and reach a different demographic. While some people will be introduced to our history for the first time, others can get a new whole new perspective on it. With up to 90% of all mobile device space able to access the app and our free wi-fi, we are demonstrating our joint commitment to our visitor offer and to digital technology. After all, we’re one of the UK’s best Connected Cities.”

Ian Reed, Yorkshire Air Museum’s Director, said: “To have your picture taken alongside animated portrayals of Sir Barnes Wallis, Neville Shute or even a wartime bomber crew member whilst they tell you about their experiences, is something quite remarkable and sure to capture the imagination. We are delighted to be associated in a ‘world first’ with Appeartome’s groundbreaking technology.”

Chris Knight, Appeartome CEO, said: “We have developed what we consider to be a game-changing app technology that has applications in a variety of sectors including sport and education as well as tourism. As we were perfecting the complex technology, we just looked out across the York skyline and thought what a wonderful opportunity! We realised we were in one of the finest cities in the world so, what could be better than creating our app to bring York to life digitally? Whilst it’s got history by the bucketful it is a forward-looking city with free wi-fi around the centre - and a council that has been outstanding to work with.”

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