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New AR art path unveiled in Sheffield

According to its makers, a new augmented reality (AR) art trail in Sheffield, which includes moving visual and acoustic artwork on city centre roofs, is the first of its type in the UK and maybe the whole globe.

The Marketing Sheffield team, a division of Sheffield City Council, is responsible for the design and production of the Look Up initiative. Sheffield-based artists and businesses have contributed digital works for the exhibition, which is supported by Niantic Labs, the San Francisco-based developers of the groundbreaking Pokémon Go mobile game.

People will be directed to four key locations using a free app: the Owen Building at Sheffield Hallam University, the Diamond Building at the University of Sheffield, the Tudor Square’s Central Library and Graves, and the former John Lewis store in Barkers Pool, where QR codes on the floor can be scanned on a smartphone to reveal the portal and artwork.

The actual world will then be “layered” over the AR art on the user’s device and be “anchored” to the rooftop using cutting-edge technology. This enables users to see and hear the distinctive, dynamic and moving displays, as well as share their experiences by capturing pictures and videos.

Marketing Sheffield has collaborated with regional businesses that excel in their fields and have a solid international reputation. The artwork was produced by Universal Everything & Human Studio, Jaywing assisted with marketing, and Megaverse constructed the platform and app.

The project was funded by the Getting Building Fund, which assists in the execution of projects authorized by mayors and Local Enterprise Partnerships in order to promote economic growth, aid local recovery, and generate jobs.

Look Up is intended to promote city centre tourism while also highlighting Sheffield’s burgeoning digital and creative industries and increasing Sheffield’s profile throughout the world, especially in light of TimeOut’s recent ranking of the city as the second best in Europe for a city break.

Mark Mobbs, city campaigns’ place brand and marketing manager at Marketing Sheffield, stated that in the end, this initiative gave Sheffield a platform to stand on. He said that based on the information available to his team, there has been no community that has relied on augmented reality in this manner to transform the city’s downtown and buildings into a long-lasting, no-cost, entertaining art walk.

He elaborated further that his team is thinking about expanding the trail as time passes, with the aim of making Sheffield known as a key urban centre with its own AR-based art gallery. All stops along the route will be open to the elements, making this really a city where “nature meets culture,” as the name suggests: The Outdoor City. This has positive effects on both health and cultural values.

Mobbs noted that his team is currently in discussions to add additional components to the exhibit throughout the course of the year and beyond and that further information will be provided as soon as it is suitable.

Look Up can be downloaded from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, or from the landing page for the app on the Welcome to Sheffield website. On these pages, you can also find more details about the project and the businesses involved, as well as additional advice for travelers to the city and the most recent news.

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