Polar Express Train rolls into Belfast thanks to local AR innovators

Who needs the Metaverse when a home-grown Belfast tech business is bringing Christmas to life in their home city?

Belfast’s augmented reality (AR) company Yellow Design has produced an immersive Winter Wonderland experience that all the family can enjoy in C.S. Lewis Square on 10 December from midday to 4pm.

Visitors will be treated to a hidden world of Christmas-themed animations and characters. The Belfast location will be transformed with AR virtual experiences all viewable through a mobile phone screen where you will see a winter environment with such sights as a huge teddy bear, candy canes and a full scale Polar Express Train.

“In the spirit of Christmas, our team sparked the idea to celebrate and share our creative ideas with communities across Belfast”

People can also throw fish and interact with the pesky penguins, and capture a photo of The Winter Wonderland to share with family and friends and celebrate this festive period.

A Titanic endeavour

New experiences will be introduced across the Glider network beginning in Spring 2023, including Titanic, housed within Thompson Dry Dock, allowing everyone to appreciate the ship at full scale in it’s original birth place.

This innovation showcase will be one of the largest virtual experiences in the world and has been developed to support the tourism industry as a new exciting attraction in the Smart District of Belfast.

“We’re very happy to showcase The Winter Wonderland virtual experience and think it is a fantastic way of using technology to attract people to open and accessible spaces,” said Jacqueline O’Hagan, manager of EastSide Greenways.

“We hope that people will jump on the Glider and join us at C.S. Lewis Square.”

The Yellow Design studio have used their Rovar AR platform to produce this seasonal piece of  immersive entertainment for the people of their home city, to enjoy for free, after having had a very successful year deploying their platform and virtual creations at home, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. They have worked with customers across transport, retail and entertainment, from The New Game of Thrones Studio Tour, delivering for the Linenmill Studios in Banbridge, to Emirates Airlines, Dubai, and The Aldar Group, based at the Formula 1 track in Abu Dhabi.

The Winter Wonderland demonstrates how you can use new tools and technologies to enhance transportation across the Glider network, connecting people and places, creating social city hubs within public areas. The Yellow Design team hope that people have a lovely Christmas and enjoy the experience they’ve made for both CS Lewis Square and Colin Park.

Creative agency Yellow Design is the brainchild of CEO Michael McGlade, a tech industry veteran who was part of the Aldiscon-Logica Mobile Networks team that delivered the first commercial deployment of SMS in the world with Telia Sweden.

“In the spirit of Christmas, our team sparked the idea to celebrate and share our creative ideas with communities across Belfast,” McGlade said.

“We believe our mix of creativity, story-telling and virtual technology can reimagine outdoor public spaces and by bringing Winter Wonderland to the Urban Villages at Colin Park and C.S Lewis Square along the Glider G1 route everyone can have great fun feeding penguins, launching virtual snowballs and capturing a few photos to share with friends and family.”

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.