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Town takes visitors back in time with VR smartphone app

PUBLISHED: 08:18 28 June 2018

Henry the GoGoHare is unveiled. PHOTO: South Norfolk Council

Henry the GoGoHare is unveiled. PHOTO: South Norfolk Council

Archant

A market town has become potentially the first in the UK to created an augmented reality smartphone experience for its residents and visitors.

Town mayor Tony Holden and Councillor Graham Minshull, Vice Chairman of South Norfolk Council, unveil Wymondham's new GoGo Hare, Henry. PHOTO: Sophie SmithTown mayor Tony Holden and Councillor Graham Minshull, Vice Chairman of South Norfolk Council, unveil Wymondham's new GoGo Hare, Henry. PHOTO: Sophie Smith

Wymondham Heritage Trail was launched on Thursday, June 21 in the town square by mayor Tony Holden, who also unveiled Wymondham’s new GoGoHare, Henry.

South Norfolk Council worked with Norwich-based company Immersive VR to create a unique experience for visitors to Wymondham using augmented reality.

History hunters can use a smartphone or tablet to watch landmark events from the Kett’s rebellion of 1549 to the great fire that destroyed nearly 300 buildings in 1615 - all while walking through some of Wymondham’s best beauty spots, including the famous Abbey.

The augmented reality app is free to download from app stores and the trail guides visitors around the town with animations, videos, facts and photos of Wymondham’s past.

The virtual reality technology at Wymondham Abbey. Picture: South Norfolk CouncilThe virtual reality technology at Wymondham Abbey. Picture: South Norfolk Council

There is also a children’s trail that follows Henry the Hare.

To make sure users walk in the right direction, paw pads are painted at intervals along the pavements.

Tony Holden, Wymondham town mayor, said: “Henry the 
Hare is a fantastic opportunity for this town. This town has got so much history and we have so many high tech business around and this hare brings all of it together.

“It’s a terrific opportunity 
for us and totally unique. The old and the new, it’s all coming together. To have it come to Wymondham, I just can’t believe how lucky we are.”

Immersive VR’s other clients include Yamaha, West Ham United and Ikea.

Lorna Burrows, who worked 
on the app, said: “The purpose of the app is to bring Wymondham alive.

“We’ve got such a rich history. I went to school in Wymondham and I didn’t realise half the stories about the town.

“This app is using all sorts of very up-to-date immersive technology in order to bring the town alive.”

Only phones that have a compass and camera are able to run the app, meaning older devices are often unusable - but the company is working to expand the app’s availability.

The trail has been funded through a £116,000 grant from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.



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