Bath Spa University brings campus to life with new augmented reality app

By Nick Batten on 28 February, 2022

Bath Spa University has launched a one-of-a-kind augmented reality (AR) campus tour app for applicants.

The app – named AR Campus Tour –  aims to bring its Newton Park campus to life by adding an extra layer of digital detail over the site’s surroundings.

Created to support the University’s 2022 Offer Holder Days for applicants with an offer of a place at Bath Spa, the app helps prospective students envisage the multitude of opportunities and networks on offer to them on campus.

It was designed and produced by Dr. Matthew Freeman, Research Lead for Film and Media and Course Leader for Media Communications at Bath Spa University. Matthew runs Immersive Promotion Design, a marketing consultancy that supports virtual reality (VR) and AR creatives and businesses to better communicate with their audiences about what he calls the ‘magic’ of immersive technologies. 

Manifesting as a trail across Bath Spa’s Newton Park campus, the app invites visitors to track down posters inside campus buildings. When the posters are scanned, an AR experience is triggered. In one moment app users can see inside a live TV production shoot and a dance rehearsal, the next they are being greeted by the University’s leaders, all through the app. 

There is also the chance to quite literally step inside 360-degree digital recreations of student projects as well as the University’s student accommodation spaces.

Led by Matthew, the project was a collaboration with Bristol-based ZubrVR, the studio behind the app responsible for shooting the bespoke immersive content using 180-degree and 360-degree cameras. It was also supported by Bath Spa University’s Marketing, Student Opportunities, Accommodation, Technical Services and Senior Management Teams. 

Talking about the AR Campus Tour app, Matthew said, “Many people have recognised the potential of immersive technologies like virtual and augmented reality. Up until now, though, few UK universities have harnessed such technologies to better promote the university experience to its student body.

“We know that going to university is about developing skills and knowledge for a future career, but it’s also about forming new networks and connections, and benefitting from impromptu opportunities and creative learning – most of which is often invisible to the naked eye during a one-off open day. The AR Campus Tour app is our way of starting to make some of these invisible university experiences visible for everyone to see.”

You can watch a full walkthrough video of the AR Campus Tour on Matthew’s YouTube channel.