Wargaming's World of Tanks — the popular multiplayer online war game — teamed up with The Tank Museum to create an augmented reality experience like no other. Alongside several German tanks that are part of the exhibit, visitors can use Microsoft HoloLens and Google Tango technology to explore a rare Stürmtiger tank inside and out.
When The Tank Museum began planning a new exhibit devoted to Tiger tanks — a group of five German tanks from World War II, they ran into an issue. Of the five tanks, they could only get four for the exhibit. Only 18 Stürmtiger tanks were ever made, and there are now just three left in the world. Unfortunately, none of the remaining tanks could be sent to the museum.
Once the museum realized they wouldn't be able to get one to complete their Tiger tank collection, they decided to get creative. In an announcement released by The Tank Museum, the museum's director — Richard Smith — shared that the idea to include AR in the exhibit came from this missing component.
With one Tiger missing from the line-up, we turned to our sponsors at World of Tanks to provide the rare Stürmtiger digitally for our visitors to see alongside the five other Tigers in the collection – and using cutting edge interpretive technology, that's exactly what they have done.
This collaboration between The Tank Museum and World of Tanks led the companies to bring the Stürmtiger to the public virtually. By providing viewers with a Google Tango-enabled phone tethered to the exhibit and HoloLens technology, they're able to explore the ins and outs of a life-sized Stürmtiger tank. The ability to see the interior of the tank is particularly exciting considering that people can't even go inside the tanks that are actually present at the exhibit.
The Tank Museum is extremely pleased with this project, and the museum's director thinks that augmented reality could change the way people interact with museums.
This is an exciting project - not only have we been able to call on the latest technology, but we think this is the future of museum interpretation. The way it allows the visitor to interact with, and better understand, collections is game changing. I'm not aware of any other museum in the world to have taken this approach and we're looking forward to seeing how our visitors react to it.
The Tank Museum is located in the United Kingdom, so you may have to travel if you're interested in seeing the exhibit. If you reside in the UK or end up visiting, this is a fascinating experience that's worth checking out. Make sure to go fairly soon, as the exhibit only runs for a few more months.