The Tank Museum has successfully incorporated the latest in Augmented Reality (AR) and has become the first major attraction to utilise the technology by bringing the Stürmtiger to life in its latest exhibition, The Tiger Collection.
The landmark exhibition unites five surviving variants of the legendary German Tiger tank of the Second World War, Tiger 131, two King Tigers, and a Jagdtiger, along with the Elefant (appearing on loan). However, one major derivative, the rare Stürmtiger, was unfortunately absent. However, thanks to Augmented Reality, the last Tiger can now be seen alongside the others in the collection.
The Tank Museum has worked in conjunction with Wargaming, creator of popular on-line video game, World of Tanks, to roll out the special interactive exhibit. Augmented Reality, a technology that uses a compatible smart phone or similar device, works by superimposing a computer-generated image on the user’s real world view. The result here, using dedicated adapted smart device, is as engaging as it is impressive. The device used to view the Stürmtiger is supplied by the museum, meaning every visitor can witness the mighty assault gun as if it was actually present in the room. The display can be enjoyed from almost any angle, and users will also be able to peer inside the virtual tank.
Museum Director Richard Smith said: “Our exhibition of the Tiger tank family had one important member missing… we turned to our sponsors at World of Tanks to provide the rare Stürmtiger digitally for our visitors to see alongside the five other Tigers in the collection – and using cutting edge interpretive technology, that’s exactly what they have done.
He continued: “This is an exciting project – not only have we been able to call on the latest technology, but we think this is the future of museum interpretation… The way it allows the visitor to interact with, and better understand, collections is game changing.
The news arrived to Britain at War following an announcement that Wargaming have also employed Virtual Reality technology to bring the preserved destroyer HMS Cavalier to life, understood to be a leap forward in accessibility and a permanent visual record of the ship for generations to come.
Built on the chassis of a Tiger I, the 68 tonne Stürmtiger was armed with a 380mm rocket projectile launcher, encased behind some 150mm of well-sloped armour. While the range of the main armament was short when compared to other large mortars or rocket launchers, it was intended for use in urban areas where range was not an issue, primarily against fortified positions. The large projectile, which could weigh as much as 370kg (815lbs), had some 125kg of high explosive or a large shaped charge warhead, enough to shatter most targets, even those armoured or concreted. The fearsome assault gun was more than 20ft in length and 9ft high, just 19 were built.
Now, by raising the dedicated device at a seemingly empty space, any visitor to The Tank Museum can view the intricacies of this unusual Tiger variant and appreciate the scale of the behemoth. Be sure to check it out at Tankfest this weekend