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A journey to Pfaffenthal in the 19th century
The City of Luxembourg has launched a virtual reality pilot project that takes people on a journey through the history of the picturesque Pfaffenthal district.
Visitors are taken on a bus ride through the district's narrow streets and, with the help of 3D glasses, transported back to 19th-century Pfaffenthal. This multi-sensory experience, enhanced with photos, animated images, sounds and music, will immerse you in the everyday life of the district: sitting in an animated carriage pulled by virtual horses, you can simply watch the world pass by. Check out the neighbourhood's private homes and other buildings, such as the Vauban military barracks.
Since December 2018, this pilot project has been accessible to the general public as part of an evaluation phase. Once this phase is completed, the City of Luxembourg will decide whether the project should be developed on a larger scale and gradually extended to other districts, which would allow locals and visitors alike to enjoy this extraordinary journey through Luxembourg City's past. In the Pfaffenthal district, for example, you can glimpse the famous Luxembourgish composer Laurent Menager as he strolls down the street, observe locals in period clothes go about their business and see carriages as they pass by on the bridge.
The City of Luxembourg has launched an outdoor augmented reality project in the form of an app aimed at locals and tourists.
Augmented reality is a technology that superimposes computer-generated images and videos on a user's view of the real world, providing a composite view in real time. This technology is applied in many different fields, including video games, education and cinema.
Until recently, environment recognition (which is useful for correctly positioning an image or video in relation to a real-world object) was mainly used indoors, and only very rarely outdoors. This is due to the complexity of the recognition algorithm, which has to be able to deal with the effects of various parameters such as sunshine, shadows and rain.
The "VdL-AR" application provides users with additional content in the form of text, 2D or 3D images or videos, giving them a fuller appreciation of a place or object.
Available free for iOS and Android, it currently covers two areas:
- Buses: by scanning an icon displayed at a bus stop, additional real-time information about Luxembourg City public transport is made available to users as an image superimposed on the camera image. Currently, several stops in the city centre already have this icon that triggers the application, showing bus departures in real time, an interactive map and any changes to routes due to public events, making it easier for locals and visitors to get around. This AR feature will gradually be added to other bus stops in other districts over the course of the year.
- Tourist sites and buildings: the project includes a discovery trail with seven stations, namely the Royal-Hamilius, the Place d’Armes, the Cercle Municipal, Place Guillaume II, the Grand Ducal Palace, the Chamber of Deputies and the old Fish Market (Marché-aux-Poissons). By turning on the AR feature and looking at buildings using the camera, users are able to access old photos of a place or a monument, historical films, animated models and 3D plans of a site under construction, which are superimposed on the camera images.
In addition to putting to good use the many photos archived by the Luxembourg City Photothèque and virtual documents of major urban and architectural projects, this app will provide visitors and tourists to the capital with a uniquely immersive and interactive experience.
Both features are integrated into a single application that also has a map showing all of the AR points.
Download the app here:
This project was executed in collaboration with DDG Benelux S.A..