Augmented Reality brings ‘Invisible Superheroes’ exhibition to life for the Easter school break

With the launch of a new augmented reality app, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is inviting young people and families to explore a new virtual experience at the Invisible Superheroes exhibition over the Easter school holidays.

Through their phones, visitors will see tunnel boring machines crash through walls and 3D Bridges appear out of the ground before their eyes.

The exhibition features real-life engineers as cartoon superheroes who are battling to save the planet from dangers such as climate change, flooding, and the spread of disease. The app brings to life the 3D digitally-created Isambard Kingdom Brunel character – a renowned Victorian engineer who built the Great Western Railway and Clifton Suspension Bridge in real-life – who will guide visitors through ICE's Grade 1 listed headquarters in London.

The app also unlocks hidden features inside the exhibition space, turning physical paintings into video displays and making windows dance with virtual objects. As they explore the building and the exhibition, visitors will learn more about ICE and its history and discover additional engineering stories alongside the physical exhibition content.

Nathan Baker, Director of Engineering Knowledge at the ICE, said:

"The ICE is always keen to recognise and embrace new technology to help the public better understand how civil engineering directly transforms lives and safeguards the future. The exhibition space at ICE already features a host of interactive opportunities for visitors, including virtual reality, touch screen gamification, Lego challenge kits and a huge range of video content to explore. The new augmented reality app adds a new dimension to the exhibition, enabling spaces and objects to come to life and reveal hidden adventures to visitors."

David O'Sullivan, Head of Development at HurrarStudios, which developed the app, said:

"Augmented reality is the perfect way to both inform and entertain. By bringing computer generated objects into the 'real' world, users can view information in amazing new ways and the possibilities are limitless. The Invisible Superheroes exhibition has provided us with a fantastically colourful opportunity to use our expertise to help the ICE on its mission to inform visitors about some of the hidden wonders of the modern world."

The Invisible Superheroes exhibition is free to attend and open Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays), 10am to 5pm, at the Infrastructure Learning Hub at One Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AA. The year-long exhibition is part of ICE's bicentenary celebrations - ICE 200 - running throughout 2018, with events planned around the UK to showcase and explain civil engineering to the public.

The ICE Augmented Reality App (ICE AR) can be downloaded and used on any IOS or Android Handheld device such as a smartphone or tablet. It is available now on Apple Store and Google Play.

Watch the ‘Meet the Superheroes’ film, featuring interviews with the civil engineers from the exhibition:

Visit the Invisible Superheroes website and take the 3D virtual tour.