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AR app to mark Shakespeare's 400th anniversary

Shakespeare's contemporary cultural influence unlocked by British tech firm Blippar on 400th anniversary of his death

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | April 22, 2016 | Product news

To mark the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare on Saturday 23th April, members of the public will be able to discover and celebrate his profound influence on British language and culture just by using their mobile phones to scan everyday items.

The augmented reality (AR) app Blippar, is making Shakespeare widely accessible again. Working with the Arts & Humanities faculty of King’s College London, the company has curated new content on 100 contemporary day-to-day objects that can be unlocked through the Blippar app. 

For example, by using the camera in a smartphone to scan (or ‘blipp’) a bus with the Blippar app, users will discover the origins of the Oyster Card stem from a line in Shakespeare’s ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ in which one of the characters famously says: “the world’s mine oyster”. 

Blippar and King’s College have created the digital content to highlight how Shakespeare’s cultural significance resonates as much today as it did four centuries ago. Among the other information users can find out, is whether lemons really hold the secret to eternal youth and did Elizabethan’s really use sugar to brush their notoriously poor teeth. 

I am constantly amazed by the enduring nature of Shakespeare's work and how, even 400 years after his death, his influence is felt by people of all ages and in every corner of the globe

Omaid Hiwaizi, Blippar’s Head of Global Marketing, said: “Due to the way Shakespeare can sometimes be taught in schools, many people feel challenged early on and can find his work difficult to engage with. Our ambition is to reverse this by highlighting Shakespeare in the world around us, making him the accessible character he always was. The involvement of King’s College London in curating the content has been paramount to the success of the activation. The dedication and level of commitment and knowledge displayed by the students, has been exemplary.” 

ABOVE: Users will discover the origins of the Oyster Card stem from a line in Shakespeare’s ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ in which one of the characters famously says: “the world’s mine oyster”. 

Professor Gordon McMullan, Director, London Shakespeare Centre, King’s College London added: “I am constantly amazed by the enduring nature of Shakespeare's work and how, even 400 years after his death, his influence is felt by people of all ages and in every corner of the globe. The students who’ve helped with the development of content for the app have really valued being involved with Blippar and their team. It’s been inspiring to see a university and a leading-edge tech company working together to bring Shakespeare to life, in a way which is accessible, engaging and, importantly, fun.”

Blippar’s involvement in the Shakespeare commemorations form part of the Shakespeare400 initiative, involving a consortium of 25 leading cultural and educational organisations through a series of public performances, programmes, exhibitions and creative activities in the capital and beyond.

W: blippar.com

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