Pixel Legend – the Polish company using virtual reality to recreate the world
Imagine if you could travel back hundreds of years and explore historical landmarks as they were then. Good news: there’s an app for that. Polish company Pixel Legend is revolutionising the use of virtual and augmented reality technology in everyday life. Using scanning, recording, data processing and 3D design, it creates cutting-edge products spanning architecture, archaeology and tourism.
Based in Szczecin, in north-western Poland, the start-up has already won several prizes. In 2014, was one of 155 European companies, and the only Polish one, to receive the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 SME Instrument grant for research and innovation. Since an angel investment by construction entrepreneur Tomasz Stencel in 2016, there has been no stopping it. Here are some of its top products:
This award-winning app is a time-machine for tourist sites. Using geolocation, it lets guides and museums create immersive indoor and outdoor VR tours. Put on a VR headset, go for a walk and watch history unfold around you (tip: try it in the Main Square in Cracow). Or sit back and enjoy from home, as Pastguide opens up opportunities for VR tourism.
This app works in a similar way, simplifying research for historians, archaeologists and museums from start to finish. Users just need to scan the excavation site using their phones and the app will collect the data they need. Findings can be shared with colleagues around the world using VR sets. The software was first tested at an excavation site on Wolin Island, a Polish island on the Baltic, and then in Morocco, during an expedition to locate medieval Slavic village Qarjat as-Saqaliba, in the historical Kingdom of Nekor.
Building on the experience of Pastguide and Musee, Emb3d is a tool for architects and interior designers. First, it scans empty buildings, recording their location and measurements. Then, it creates a visualisation for construction and room design, complete with furniture and utilities. Users can step into the virtual space and change layout, colours and patterns with just the touch of a finger.
Previously associated with planetariums, bespoke fulldome videos are becoming a popular way of showing any visual subject in a modern, immersive way. The effects have been stunning. The Boston Globe used the spherical projection domes using Hyperdome software developed by Pixel Legend to present milestones since the newspaper was founded in 1872 during HUBweek 2017. Back in Poland, DHL used it for its multimedia show marking the opening of its new terminal at Warsaw Chopin Airport.
So far, the technology has been used to greatest effect in Pixel Legend’s hometown, Szczecin. Ahead of the modernisation of the Łasztowania district, the City Council decided to ask locals for their opinion. Pixel Legend created a 360˚Hyperdome tent with a map of the district in the middle where visitors could arrange different coloured blocks. These were captured by stereoscopic cameras and transformed into a visualisation of streets and buildings on the walls of the dome. This let locals test their ideas in real time. The dome had 50,000 visitors in 3.5 months. 150 of the proposed projects were saved and passed on to the City Council for analysis.