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Augmented Reality in the Historical Power Plant

This year, an augmented reality (AR) project was implemented in the Energy and Technology Museum – a historical power plant. The authentic equipment of the museum – a steam boiler and a turbine – were recreated with the help of augmented reality technology. The project is designed for educational purposes, in order to visualize the principles of operation of the museum equipment, as well as modern technologies are used to meet the needs of the modern visitor and to attract as many young visitors as possible and interest them in technical science and history.

In the permanent Energy Exhibition, authentic and culturally significant devices of the former first power plant of the city of Vilnius are presented: steam boilers and turbines. The operation of these facilities has long been stopped, so the exhibits have remained only for history, they no longer fulfill their purpose. After the power plant became the Lithuanian Energy Museum, the operating principles of the mentioned devices are now only told.

Telling how boilers and turbines work and what parts make up boilers and turbines is quite difficult, and imagining them is even more difficult. Although boilers and turbines can be viewed from a different angle in the museum, such as going inside the boiler, it is hard to really understand how such complex units worked. Therefore, with the help of modern innovative technologies, the static exhibit came to life, in real time, illustrating how electricity is produced on the visitor’s mobile phone.

Steam boiler plan.

In order to understand the mechanical principles of operation, it is important that visitors can choose the sections of the device that interest them and see animated versions of them, because the outside of the turbine and boiler is closed. The principles of combustion and mechanical movement can be shown informatively and safely with the help of animation. Using the phone’s camera, the information received is displayed on the screen, and an alpha layer is “put” on top of it, which represents different sections on the screen.

Using augmented reality technology in a mobile app, the visitor sees an authentic view of steam boilers and turbines and how these devices worked and looked like in the past. With the help of augmented reality, it is revealed how turbines convert the thermal energy of steam into mechanical energy and how boilers produce steam in individual complex parts.

The modern museum visitor is attracted by dynamic and interactive expositions. Museum objects and innovative technologies work together to create a synergy. When objects that exists in real life are expanded with additional information, this gives the user a stronger impression. It is innovative technologies that expand and improve the quality of visitors’ experience – allowing them to experience new forms of culture.

What to see? How the steam boiler and turbine work – these devices are no longer used since the closing of the Vilnius Central Power Plant in 1998, but the museum guides continue to tell about the technology of electricity generation.

Where to see? At the new stands in the ETM Boiler and Turbine Halls. Also in the updated smart app “ETM: Deeper Vision”, which you can download on “Google Play”.

The project was implemented by: Energy and Technology Museum

Augmented Reality by: “MultimediaMark”

Sponsors of the project: Lithuanian Council for Culture and Vilnius City Municipality

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