A new ‘Snap Lens’ has been created by London-based augmented reality experts Arcade that allows visitors to the city’s Natural History Museum to discover a giant, festive diplodocus that appears to have taken up residence on the museum’s roof. The new diplodocus is a scaled-up version of the plaster cast fossilised dinosaur that used to take centre stage in the museum’s famous Hintze Hall and was, from 1979 to 2017, the iconic emblem of the museum.
Snapchat users are able to access the specially developed Lens when they are close to the Natural History Museum – specifically within sight of the famous entrance on Cromwell Road in South Kensington. By selecting the Lens and pointing their phone at the building, they can see and hear the diplodocus, and enjoy the prehistoric wintery scene.
Snapchat Lenses are best known for augmenting users’ faces, but in April 2019 the company announced a new type of Lens known as ‘Landmarkers’ – capable of applying augmented reality content to buildings, not faces. Landmarkers are available to Snapchat’s community of creators for free, via its Lens Studio software. Only a small group of buildings globally are available as Landmarkers, and the Natural History Museum was added in August. This was of particular interest to Arcade, who specialise in using augmented reality to create more meaningful connections between people and the physical world around them.
“We couldn’t resist having a bit of fun with the Natural History Museum Landmarker, and what better than bringing back Dippy, or perhaps Dippy’s big brother, as a festive treat?” said Alex Book, Arcade co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer.“We know it’s not a historically accurate model, but hopefully the museum and their wonderful array of palaeontology experts will forgive us. It is Christmas after all!”
The Lens is available for free to all members of the public via the Snapchat app. It was created by Arcade and is not endorsed by or related to the Natural History Museum in any way.