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REEL TO REAL ► Universal Studios Celebrates 100 Years by Bringing Classics to Life with Augmented Reality

The Gadget Helpline‘s REEL TO REAL is a regular feature to the blog, aimed at tech and film fanatics, which will reveal how the sci-fi and futuristic gadgets we see on screen in movies and television are making their way into real-life. Take a seat, grab your popcorn and enjoy the show!

This edition is a little bit different and instead of our usual focus on a previously unimaginable future crossing over from screen to actual reality, we’ll take a look at something equally awesome that Universal Studios is doing to celebrate its 100 Year Anniversary –  sparking our imaginations once more, this time with the use of Augmented Reality technology and a number of its classic movie titles.

Universal Studios has been producing and distributing motion pictures since 1912 and is famed for its titles such as King Kong, Jaws and Jurassic Park. Augmented Reality (AR) is a term first noted in 1990 and is a virtual three-dimensional (and often moving) image overlaid onto a real-time camera-captured environment. AR technology has only very recently started to find its way onto our smartphones and tablets and by recognising certain physical markers can bring up additional and graphical content for a variety of applications from gaming to printed publications and more.

With the introductions out of the way, let’s move onto the exciting news! Universal has teamed up with AR app maker Aurasma to breathe exciting new life into a number of its classics and contemporaries by bringing action to the covers of 15 of its new DVD and Blu-Ray releases on the screens of our pocket gadgets. 100 years of characters and creatures virtually come to life on the covers of top titles like Gladiator, The Mummy, Apollo 13 and Paul – and we can’t wait to see what’s in store when Jaws is rereleased – remastered from the original footage and in the high density Blu-Ray format for the first time ever!

In addition to the DVD and Blu-Ray covers themselves, Universal Studios is bringing three of its most popular movies to a number of well-known London landmarks to mark the prestigious centenary celebration. Turn on your Aurasma AR app on your iPhone, iPad or Android devices and hold it up to the Big Ben from the Westminster Bridge and you’ll see the time travelling DeLorean as driven by Marty McFly and Doc Brown in Back to the Future or stop by Nelson’s Column to see it scaled by the mighty King Kong. By far our favourite is what awaits visitors to Buckingham Palace – the terrifying T-Rex from Jurassic Park is seen resurrected and roaring at the gates of the Queen’s capital home!

The Universal 100 app from Aurasma can be downloaded now from Google Play or the Apple App Store. The Blu-Ray movies with Augmented Reality covers start to go on sale from Monday the 23rd, but if you’re visiting London this weekend you can already grab the app and bring these scenes to life!

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