BBC launches its first-ever AR app

The BBC is launching its first-ever augmented reality app.

Civilisations AR has been developed by BBC Research & Development and Nexus Studios to accompany the BBC’s new arts and culture series, Civilisations. It is available on both Android and iOS and will allow users to explore exhibits from the more than 30 UK museums that are collaborating with the BBC on the series.

Virtual exhibits featured in the app include the ancient Egyptian mummy from Torquay Museum, Rodin’s The Kiss from the National Museum of Wales, The Umbrian Madonna and Child from the National Museum of Scotland, and more.

The app has been built by the BBC R&D department using Nexus software, based on ARKit for iOS and ARCore for Android. It is also designed to be used for other applications in future, with AR possibilities to accompany other shows and series.

Eleni Sharp, executive product manager for BBC R&D, said: “The Civilisations Festival has opened BBC R&D up in a brand new way. Not only has it brought innovative digital tools and skills to hundreds of museums, galleries, libraries, archives and other arts organisations from all over the UK, it has enabled us to trial our ideas and technologies on a huge scale which is going to influence and inform our work over the coming months and years.

“The work we’ve done with these organisations will enable fans of the series new ways to engage with art and cultural artefacts from across the country. The BBC’s first ever AR app is a great example of this, offering users the ability to explore a personal, virtual exhibition of fascinating pieces whenever and wherever they want.”

Written by Jenny Priestly from

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