SINGAPORE – On Saturday (July 2), a new Bukit Gombak walking route was launched, enhanced with virtual reality (VR) features.
Using smartphones, residents and visitors to the neighborhood can learn about 15 community landmarks such as scenic Little Guilin and other locations by scanning the QR codes displayed and playing games at the spots.
The new Heartland Gems @ South West Augmented Reality (AR) Trail was launched Saturday by Ms. Low Yen Ling, Mayor of the South West District and Secretary of State for Commerce and Industry and Culture, Community and Youth.
Ms Low said: “This unique augmented reality trail allows residents and visitors to experience and enjoy the local history, culture and heritage of Bukit Gombak through technology.”
The trail was developed by the South West Community Development Council, the non-profit Corporate Alliance for Good, location-based and AR/VR solutions provider LDR Technology, and the SG Digital Office, which is leading the government’s drive towards digitization in the community.
The project also involved seven students from the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), who also helped come up with a logo.
Through the Locomole mobile app and QR codes posted along the trail, participants can listen to the stories of hawkers and merchants in the area and take photos with 3D AR objects.
Visitors communicate digitally with the spaces around them by placing 3D AR objects on their environment via the camera. The technology was popularized by games like Pokemon Go.
The 15 venues include popular eateries such as Habib Family Restaurant, which serves Singapore’s first halal bak kut teh, shops such as Pretty Sugar, and nearby attractions such as Bukit Gombak Stadium.
Sin Chwee Mini Market, one of the locations, was established in 1980 and is known by residents as a traditional wet market stall with an online store. In addition to reading about the history, trail participants can take photos with an AR red snapper or stingray at the stall using their phones.
On Saturday, 40 senior residents of Bukit Gombak were among the first to view the trail. They visited five checkpoints.
Ms. Png Bee Geok, 68, said: “I don’t really use my phone for anything other than making calls, so I’m happy to learn how to use my phone to do more things like scan QR codes and take pictures. .”
But since the app guide is in English, which is not her first language, she had to get her daughter to translate the information into Chinese.
The housewife added that she plans to eventually visit all 15 locations with her friends, as she had a lot of fun on the trail and likes to spend time in the community.