Virtual tour of Bletchley Park computing museum goes online

A new 3D, 360-degree application lets anyone interested in the origins of computers visit galleries at the UK National Museum of Computing without making a trip to its home at Bletchley Park.

The museum is an independent charity that houses the world’s largest collection of functional historic computers, including the rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer, and the WITCH, the world’s oldest working digital computer. Visitors can follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of the 1940s through the large systems and mainframes of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s to the rise of personal computing in the 1980s and beyond.

The virtual tour, developed by Venue View Virtual Tours lets viewers move around the museum, looking at the machines and their descriptions and zooming in on points of interest. As well as information already displayed in the galleries there’s the added bonus of links to further information and even videos of machines in action. At the WITCH, for example, users can click on a link to see the moment when the oldest computer in the world was rebooted after restoration in 2012.

Venue View created the application using a specialist camera that can record any venue in 360-degree high-definition quickly and with no interference to anything in the scene. The addition of infra-red cameras allows it to capture a 3D version of any venue to give a life-like representation of the space from above.

Kevin Murrell, a trustee at the museum, believes even regular visitors will find something new. “The virtual tour is quite incredible and a dramatic way of realising how far technology has come in a few decades,” he said. “We are seeing 1950s’ computers with 2017 tech and getting a convincing dolls-house view of the galleries that is impossible to see in real life.”

Experience the 3D virtual tour at https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=Vz8kCqGRjQA

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