Step into Scotland with immersive AR app The app opens a ‘portal’ that allows users to step into a series of immersive AR experiences. (Scotland Is Now/Gary Campbell-Hall/Flickr)
Step into Scotland with immersive AR app
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Have you’ve ever dreamed of stepping into a wardrobe and finding yourself transported Narnia-style? If so, you’re in luck.

First, users of a new augmented reality app must scan the floor with their device, positioning the portal in an area free of any mess. Then they can then walk directly into an immersive 360-degree experience.

Portal AR is a new app available now from the Apple App and Google Play Stores. It is the first travel tool of its kind. Users can immerse themselves in the sites and sounds of Scotland. 

Scotland boasts several attractions such as Edinburgh Castle - the former home of doomed ruler Mary, Queen of Scots. Scotland also has the shadow of Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano that is better known today as one of the country’s top hiking spots. One town in Scotland is St. Andrews which was birthplace of golf. It is also home to the university where Britain’s future king and queen first met.

According to “The Scotsman’s” Alison Campsie, the innovative app was launched as part of the country’s “Scotland Is Now” campaign. 

It was designed in collaboration with Google and VisitScotland. The Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and Universities Scotland also assisted in the creation of the app. Its immersive features are intended to aid travelers planning trips to Scotland.

The app offers a range of VR experiences, includign a paramotoring tour of Great Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis. Users can also virtually visit Glasgow’s Kelingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

Users can virtually interact with the country’s landscape and history. Portal AR examines the ways in which Scots, live, work, invest and study. Voiceovers from locals complement video footage of subjects including a satellite-building facility in Glasgow and a fashion classes at the Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design. Users can also take leisurely strolls along the Scottish shores.

As Campsie notes, Portal AR isn’t Scotland’s first foray into groundbreaking mobile technology. In fact, back in 1999, communications company Orange helped the Edinburgh Fringe Festival launch one of the world’s first mobile apps. It was a guide to the annual arts show.

The festival, which featured 53,232 performances of 3,398 shows in its 2017 incarnation, is, in fact, another one of the distinctive Scottish experiences highlighted by the new app.

“The Scotsman’s” Brian Ferguson reports the central message of the $8 million “Scotland Is Now” tourism campaign, which launched in April, is one of inclusivity—touting the country as “one of the most open” in the world. This philosophy underlies the new AR experience, which will be continually updated as new content is developed.

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