Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth launches Time Detectives - world’s first multi-sensory augmented reality detective game

THE LAUNCH of a ‘one-of-a-kind’ experience at the Mary Rose Museum transports players back in time to solve mysteries.

By Elsa Waterfield
Friday, 8th July 2022, 11:37 am

The first ever multi-sensory Augmented Reality game has been launched at the Mary Rose Museum, in Portsmouth, by UK-based film and immersive production company, Picture This Productions.

In the run-up to the 40th anniversary of Henry VIII’s favourite warship being raised from the sea off the coast of Portsmouth, the Mary Rose Museum is introducing Time Detectives: The Mystery of the Mary Rose immersing players in the sights, sounds and smells of life on board the Mary Rose almost 500 years ago.

Created by Picture This Productions’ director, Charlotte Mikkelborg, in consultation with the Mary Rose’s Head of Research, Dr Alex Hildred, the game turns players into Time Detectives, investigating the sinking of the Mary Rose on July 19, 1545.

Mary Rose multi-sensory Augmented Reality experiece at the Mary Rose Museum, Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth on 7th July 2022 Pictured:Charlotte Mikkelborg, Director of Time Detectives AR app and Dr Hannah Platts, Academic lead of the project with the AR App on their phone Picture: Habibur Rahman

Using a phone as a ‘magical spyglass’ to reveal past secrets, players follow a trail based on their chosen character, collecting and interrogating clues to complete their mission for the King.

‘At Picture This, we specialise in multisensory experiences. This is a world first in terms of being multisensory augmented reality,’ Charlotte said.

When using the app in the Mary Rose Museum, visitors receive backpacks that automatically trigger scent at key moments in the evolving story, smelling gunpowder in the midst of the blast.

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Mary Rose multi-sensory Augmented Reality experiece at the Mary Rose Museum, Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth on 7th July 2022 Pictured: Charlotte Mikkelborg, Director of Time Detectives AR app and Dr Hannah Platts, Academic lead of the project with the AR App on their phone Picture: Habibur Rahman

Charlotte collaborated with Dr Hannah Platts, of Royal Holloway University when developing the game.

‘Smell is intriguing. Smell encourages us to develop memories and has a very strong role in how we engage with our surroundings,’ added Dr Platts.

Time Detectives not only draws on scent, but also photorealistic 3D characters – forensic reconstructions of some of the crew.

Dr Alex Hildred, head of research at the Mary Rose, said: ‘This rollercoaster journey through history is a one-of-a-kind experience within the museum, but can also be used as an engaging learning tool at home or in the class-room.’

The game – which costs £4.99 at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – is family friendly and aimed at ages eight to 16, but welcomes all to explore the mystery of the Mary Rose.

‘The aim is to provide families with a fun day out but also, importantly, to inspire young people with diverse characters and stories from history,’ added Charlotte.