Bringing the Past Alive in the Present through Augmented Reality
October 8, 2013

Bringing the Past Alive in the Present through Augmented Reality

The RAF Museum In England is using cutting-edge digital technology to share its newly acquired exhibit – the Dornier Do 17 bomber - with the world.

Using a specially developed augmented reality app called Apparition: Dornier17, a full-scale, 3D vision of the aircraft will be visible in situ at various locations around the world.

In 2008, the remains of an intact Dornier Do 17 were discovered on the seabed of Goodwin Sands, three miles off the coast of England. This was a discovery of international importance, as this aircraft, which was shot down on August 26, 1940, is the world's only surviving Dornier Do 17. With the aid of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and a number of other sponsors, including, the Dornier Do 17 was successfully lifted from Goodwin Sands in front of a live international TV audience June 10, 2013 before being transferred to the Dornier Interpretation Zone at Cosford. 

A grant of £75,000 for exhibition development from Wargaming has allowed the Museum to work with the RedLoop Design and Innovation Centre to develop a brand-new method of exhibiting Museum artifacts. The creation of the " Interpretation Zone" has been funded by Wargaming, a global game publisher and developer.

From October 16, 2013, visitors to the Museum sites at London and Cosford will be able to see a fully restored, 3D, full-scale, augmented reality Dornier. Visitors will be able to view this through their smart phones via the Apparition: Dornier17 app.

Apparition: Dornier17 will be able for free download from the Apple App store from October 16 and soon after will be available on Android.

Furthermore, the Museum has also tied in with organizations across the globe including; Museo del Aire Madrid Spain, Warsaw Museum of Polish Military Technics Poland, War Museum Overloon The Netherlands. Great Horwood C of E Combined School England, Canada Aviation and Space Museum, The Air Force Museum of New Zealand Museum plus the Pima Air & Space Museum/Arizona Aerospace Foundation to celebrate the launch of the exhibition. Visitors to those Museums will also be able to see the augmented reality Dornier's through their smart phones, hovering in situ.

"Wargaming is delighted to be working with the RAF museum and its partners to develop an augmented reality application to bring history alive, and allow users to view the Dornier 17 bomber from locations around the world" said, Tracy Spaight, Director of Special Projects, Wargaming. "One of the challenges museums face is how to reach a younger generation, a demographic that author Mark Prensky called 'digital natives'. Young people are used to interacting with content in ways that museums are only just beginning to explore. is pushing the envelope to create interactive experiences that will help enrich our historical understanding and bring a new generation to museums."

Royal Air Force Museum Director General Peter Dye says: "This heralds a new era of exhibition display and what Museums can achieve. For the first time ever the same 3D exhibit is visible in defined physical sites around the world."

RedLoop Director Dr Andy Bardill adds: "We are now living in the science fiction future, described by William Gibson, where we can create virtual 3D objects that people can look at, walk around and explore in physical spaces or in their own home using commonly available smartphones and tablets. We have used this technology to bring the Dornier17 back to life and it clearly has immense potential for augmenting museum collections."

The purpose of the Royal Air Force Museum is to tell the story of the Royal Air Force through its people and collections.he Museum occupies two public sites at Colindale in North London, and Cosford in Shropshire, West Midlands. Each site offers a unique experience for the visitor and the exhibits complement each other. At each site you will find a world-class collection and display of aircraft, integrated with special exhibitions, films, interactives, artwork, engines, missiles, photographs, medals and uniforms plus research and education facilities, enabling the Museum to take an innovative approach to telling the RAF's story whilst keeping with tradition.

This is just the beginning of a project that has developed new conservation techniques and new technologies to share with the visitors at Cosford, London and on-line the powerful and poignant story of the Dornier Do17, the RAF, the people of Britain, and the early days of World War Two.