Aberdeen’s greatest innovators celebrated in trailblazing app

Illuminators of Aberdeen app brings the city's innovators throught time to life
Illuminators of Aberdeen app brings the city's innovators throught time to life
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NEW technology is to help resurrect the ghosts of Aberdeen’s past in time for a major festival later this month.

Brother and sister team Lucy and Barney Heywood have dipped into ‘augmented reality” to create an app which brings a number of the Granite City’s historical figures into the 21st Century.

The Pool by Jen Leiwin Studio will be one of the installations at Aberdeen's SPECTRA festival

The Pool by Jen Leiwin Studio will be one of the installations at Aberdeen's SPECTRA festival

The Illuminators of Aberdeen app has been launched to coincide with the much anticipated SPECTRA festival, which will open on Thursday and bring together the work of several light artists of world standing.

App users will be able to tap into a selection of stories that showcase Aberdeen’s history of innovators through sound and beautiful graphics.

It will be used in conjunction with a trail of light boxes in Union Terrace Gardens from where stories of figures including physicist James Clerk Maxwell, inventor of the MRI scanner Professor John Mallard and magician John Henry Anderson, creator of the Bullet Trick, will unfold.

READ MORE: Finding Scotland’s next tech ‘unicorns’

Using advanced technology is at the forefront of our digital aspirations for the city so it is encouraging to see it being used as part of our cultural programme

Marie Boulton

Using advanced image recognition software, the app will trigger a 3D animated video that will spring to life when a smartphone or tablet is pointed at the lightbox.

It is the latest project completed by the Heywood’s through their Stand and Stare collaboration.

They recently worked with Carnegie Hall, New York, to create the “Dear Carnegie Hall” app as part of a celebratory programme of commissions to mark the 125th anniversary of the famous venue.

Aberdeen City Council Deputy Leader Councillor Marie Boulton said: “We are delighted to be using modern technology to tell the stories of Aberdeen’s impressive history and its notable figures.

“It is a fantastic way to learn about the inspiring people who have come from this region and who contributed so much to culture and science.

“Using advanced technology such as this is at the forefront of our digital aspirations for the city so it is encouraging to see it being used as part of our cultural programme.”

SPECTRA is being staged in Aberdeen in celebration of Scotland’s 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

Dozens of installations will be spread across the city centre and will feature flaming metal sculptures to cascading fiery fountains, brain activity tracking and illuminated 900-year-old graveyard.

The festival, over four days, will also feature world-renowned digital artist Jen Lewin for the first time in Scotland with her ground-breaking installation, The Pool. This incorporates 40,000 LED lights and computerised pads that change colour as visitors move across them.

The annual festival began in 2014 when 17,000 people turned out to see Union Terrace Gardens and the surrounding architecture lit up in the depths of winter. Now in its third year, the event has grown from just one site to four locations, incorporating pivotal landmarks in the city centre.

Scottish heritage: for stories on Scotland’s people, places and history >>