What is the project?
VISTA AR is a European funded project led by the University of Exeter that is working closely with Exeter Cathedral and Fougères Castle in France, to develop an understanding of visitor experiences, create new VR and AR digital interpretations and explore new business models enabled by digital technology. The National Centre for Computer Animation of Bournemouth University has been participating in the project providing research and development on digital content to support the VR/AR exploitation, taking advantage of its expertise on computer animation. The use of advanced digital technologies will inform visitor preferences for various experiences. The project will also explore the use of different digital devices to create new immersive visitor experiences. Virtual reality helmets, tablet/smartphone devices and immersive room experiences will be used to bring history to life, allowing visitors to meet characters from the past and providing access to previously inaccessible heritage artefacts. The project will develop generic tools to understand visitor experiences, together with AR/VR tools to script new digital interpretations. Once developed, the digital tools will be used to create new digital experiences in a further four locations: the National Trust tin coast, and South West Coastal Path in the UK, and the Lorient Submarine Museum and the Gardens of Valloires in France. The project is focused on generating new and repeat visitors to cultural heritage sites and to make an impact on regional economies. The tools developed by the project will be made available to other UK and French cultural heritage sites on a cloud-based system where they can be easily accessed and adapted to the needs of each specific heritage location. The project is a major step in providing cultural heritage sites with an effective way to enhance visitor experiences while increasing visitor numbers and revenue.