Viewing the past: virtual time binoculars and the Edinburgh 1544 reconstruction

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This paper discusses how a digital reconstruction of the Scottish capital of Edinburgh around the year 1544 was created and communicated to the public. It explores the development and reception of the Virtual Time Binoculars platform – a system for delivering virtual reality heritage apps suitable for use on most smartphones. The Virtual Time Binoculars system is placed in the context of earlier research into mobile heritage experiences, including Situated Simulations (Liestøl [3]) and the Mirrorshades Project (Davies et al. [4]). The eventual virtual reality app is compared with other means of viewing the historic reconstruction, including online videos and an interactive museum and educational exhibit. It outlines the historical and technical challenges of modelling Edinburgh’s sixteenth-century cityscape, and of distributing the eventual reconstruction in an immersive fashion that works safely and effectively on smartphones on the streets of the modern city. Finally, it considers the implications of this project for future developments in mobile exploration of historic scenes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImmersive Learning Research Network
Subtitle of host publication5th International Conference, iLRN 2019, London, UK, June 23–27, 2019, Proceedings
EditorsDennis Beck, Anasol Peña-Rios, Todd Ogle, Daphne Economou, Markos Mentzelopoulos, Leonel Morgado, Christian Eckhardt, Johanna Pirker, Roxane Koitz-Hristov, Jonathon Richter, Christian Gütl, Michael Gardner
Place of PublicationCham
ISBN (Electronic)9783030230890
ISBN (Print)9783030230883
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event5th Immersive Learning Research Network Conference (iLRN 2019) - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Jun 201927 Jun 2019
Conference number: 5

Publication series

NameCommunications in Computer and Information Science
ISSN (Print)1865-0929
ISSN (Electronic)1865-0937


Conference5th Immersive Learning Research Network Conference (iLRN 2019)
Abbreviated titleiLRN 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Historical documentation
  • Virtual reality
  • Mobile devices


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