SK Telecom & Google

Changdeok ARirang

Changdeok Palace ARirang is the first 5G Augmented Reality, AR-enhanced tour experience, offering groundbreaking new ways for visitors to appreciate cultural heritage.

I worked as a freelance creative at Nexus Interactive Arts on Changdeok Palace ARirang. The project was a collaboration between Nexus Studios, SK Telecom, Google and the Cultural Heritage Administration.

The UNESCO world heritage site, in South Korea, was transformed into a 5G enabled, AR-enhanced, cultural location experience.

The site occupies 110 acres. Visitors are tour guided around the palace grounds by a mythical lion-like horned creature – a Haechi.

The Haechi not only acts as a wayfinding guide to any of the unique 12 interactive experiences but educates visitors with accurate location-specific commentary and exciting stories about the Joseon Dynasty.

Throughout the tour, you meet a variety of historically accurate, life-size augmented reality holograms – kings and queens to interact with, princes to play archery with, dancers and more.

Moreover, there is virtual traditional kite flying, and visitors can take a closer look at restricted areas such as the secret garden, Huwon, through 360 degree augmented reality. All streamed over 5G.

Changdeok Palace Arirang uses Google Cloud Anchors, a powerful visual positioning system, Google’s ARCore. It was built using the Unity Game Engine. Content can be persistent, placed anywhere with a great deal of precision and shared between users.

With such a high level of precision, a virtual character can guide visitors to locations within a centimetre of accuracy. This empowers the virtual character to provide commentary about the immediate real surroundings and additional AR content.

For example, the virtual Haechi guides you into a real courtyard, where you discover a hologram of a Prince receiving an archery lesson. The Prince also invites you to join in, play and shoot some arrows for yourself.

SK Telecom installed 12 units of 5G base stations within the palace to create the low latency 5G mobile edge computing (MEC) network. The app runs on the 5G mobile phones Samsung S10 5G, Galaxy Note 10 5G, LG V50 5G.

We volumetrically captured the actors performances for the AR holograms in 4K. Light estimation is used to create an increasing sense of reality by making the AR hologram content appear more natural. It acheives this by responding to the level of lighting at the location.

It was terrific working with the team at Nexus to transform history and customs into immersive storytelling in ways that inspire participants to explore, discover, learn and play. This made for genuinely memorable visitor experiences.

The evolving opportunities for meaningful AR location-based and AR-enhanced location-based experiences are awe-inspiring. And it’s going to get better and better. Exciting times.

Changdeok ARirang – Nexus Project Page