Cutting edge software is set to transform the visitor experience in Stirling, allowing people to explore the city through their smartphone screen. The new AR experience allows designers to enhance parts of the user’s physical world with computer-generated input.
As part of the new technological rollout, designers can create inputs ranging from sound to video in digital content, which responds in real time to changes in the user’s environment, typically movement.
Stirling’s rich history and heritage will be brought to life through interactive games and will unlock rewards and incentives. The AR city was created with Stirling Council in collaboration with BT and Seymour Powell, a tech innovation company with a base at Codebase Stirling, which helped developed the cutting-edge software.
Stirling Council has invested £200,000 in the project, with funding from the Scottish Government Place Based Investment Programme.
To access the new AR environment, users need to download the free Stirling XP app and then hold up their phones as they navigate the city. Similar trials of augmented reality technology have allowed city planners and investors to visualise what vacant lots in city centres and art displays would look like. The technology allows the insertion of objects and displays digitally using a mobile phone, prior to construction.
Stirling Council leader Chris Kane said: “Offering this complete AR environment across Stirling is an exciting world first and will revolutionise the visitor experience in our amazing city. Stirling’s historic city centre and world-class attractions will be overlaid with interactive information, graphics, 3D models and much more, creating a fully immersive and dynamic experience that no other city currently offers.
“Stirling is already a must-visit destination, and this pioneering product will raise the city’s profile and attract more people to come here, boosting the wider tourism economy. The new free app will also open up a plethora of fantastic opportunities for local businesses and will make Stirling a more inclusive and accessible place that’s setting the world standard for next generation tourism.”
Chris Doughty, head of immersive experiences at Seymour Powell, said: “The Stirling XP project demonstrates what is possible when cutting-edge infrastructure providers, optimistic and forward-looking public bodies and award-winning designers work together.
“Using Google’s new Geospatial platform, we were able to design a truly immersive experience that brings the city to life by revealing an exciting digital layer, gamifying local history and providing tourists with local challenges that encourage them to go out and explore the city.
“We are delighted to have been able to deliver a project which firmly positions Stirling as a world-class digital destination and paves the way for continued, industry-leading development.”
Augmented reality technology has been used in recent months across sectors in Scotland from Halloween and Nature trails, to an augmented reality tool from SmARtview that strives to make improvements in dairy farming. The project uses artificial intelligence to identify individual cows through their distinctive markings, allowing vets to see at a glance how productive and healthy particular animals are.