Mayflower boarding reconstructed using virtual reality

Project uses interactive technologies to recreate 1620s Plymouth
Digital
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Rebecca Atkinson
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A virtual reality reconstruction of the Mayflower has been created to mark the 400th anniversary of the ship sailing the first English Puritans to the “New World”.

The project to recreate the Barbican Harbour area in Plymouth in the 1620s launches online today  at www.1620mayflower.co.uk. Created over the past six years by the University of Birmingham, it uses virtual reality and augmented reality to enable users to board a small boat at the original site of the Mayflower Steps before taking a short journey out to the ship to experience passengers and crew preparing to set sail.

Bob Stone, director of the Human Interface Technologies team at the University of Birmingham, said: “As well as being a great demonstration of the power of virtual and augmented reality technology, this has been a collaborative and educational exercise involving members of the public, local historians, schoolchildren, artists and actors, all contributing to the development of highly detailed and authentic virtual models and scenes.” 

Partner organisations on the project include Royal Leamington Spa College, which developed the virtual Pilgrims, and Plymouth-based Bluestone 360, which is hosting the simulation online. Digital artists and virtual reality specialists Robert Guest and Chris Harvey coordinated the development of the 3D assets.

The Mayflower’s 102 colonist passengers founded the settlement of Plymouth, Massachusetts, in the land mass now known as the United States.

Screenshots from the virtual reality experienceVirtual Mayflower

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