Augmented reality can help us see back in time, making history come alive.

The presentation at ISMAR from the Beijing Instituite of Technology showed how they could use AR to reconstruct the Yuanmingyuan, or “Garden of All Gardens” without damaging the current appearance of the ruins.  The Yuanmingyuan was burnt down by Anglo-French forces in 1860 and their project uses AR to project the original architecture onto the site. 

 They plan to utilize a coin-operated viewer to allow tourists to see the AR version of the site.

AR-Viewer Huang













This type of historical eye is also being demonstrated in Cluny France to show what the abby looked like before it’d been destroyed during the French Revolution.   

I predict (since we’re all busy predicting the AR future) that you won’t be able to visit a historical site in five years without an AR viewer to see the past.  Old civil war sites won’t be the same when you can watch a thousand Union troops storm the Confederate lines.  Maybe kids will cheer when dad fires up the old Studebaker for a trip across the country to revisit historical sites. 

But the real question is–will AR be able to help when you have to drive eighty miles out of the way to visit the giant ball of twine?


Thomas K. Carpenter

Thomas K. Carpenter is a full time contemporary fantasy author with over 50 independently published titles. His bestselling, multi-series universe, The Hundred Halls, has over 25 books and counting. His stories focus on fantastic families, magical academies, and epic adventures.

  • This would have been fantastic to have on our Philly trip! I can imagine the founding fathers crowded into Independence Hall while tourists watched them sign the Declaration. I probably would have payed extra to wear glasses just to see that. Instead we got a room filled with tables and our imaginations.

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