Welcome to Augmented Reality

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality is when an artificial, usually digital, image is placed over what you can see normally. Audio tours are the most common form that Augmented Reality takes within the heritage sector. In the case of mobile and tablet applications, a virtual image is placed over the object or scene that you’re looking at through your camera.


I first came across the Augmented Reality (AR) and the whole idea of virtual content last year. I bought myself a Nintendo 3DS (other games consoles are available) and, for those who don’t know, it comes with a set of cards. These cards act as a marker based Augmented Reality experience. Place a card on the ground whilst in the right program on the console and voila, a 3D Mario (other cartoon characters are available) on my screen.

This got me thinking, could we use this in heritage? Had it already been used in heritage? The answer is most certainly yes, though not enough. I feel, however, as technology becomes cheaper and with a greater level of availability it will be more viable for the heritage sector to consider what Augmented Reality has to offer.

York Hologram Tour (2013) Screenshot

York Hologram Tour (2013) Screenshot

With this burning a hole in the back of my mind, I have set myself the task of exploring three Augmented Reality applications based within the City of York: The York Hologram Tour, IPUP’s ‘York in WW1’ audio tour and the York Churches application.

Join me in the next couple of weeks as I delve further into the wondrous mysteries of Augmented Reality, one post at the time.

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