Bristol University spin-out creates virtual guided tours

26 Jun 2006 | News | Update from University of Warwick
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Mista Ltd is looking for funding and publishers for its software, which allows users to create virtual guided tours.

A virtual environment for tourists.

Mista Ltd. has spun-out from University of Bristol to develop commercial applications of software it has created that allows users to create virtual guided tours combining text, sound, video and images. The company is currently seeking funding to grow its business and it is also looking to discuss commercial potential with content publishers such as guide books.

The annotated tours or trails can be shared with others via the Web, and by downloading onto a GPS (global positioning system) device. The tour will then play automatically when the device enters the region it refers to.

“The market potential is large and growing fast,” said Tony Rush, CEO of Mista. “As GPS technology moves into more and more devices, particularly mobile phones, the set of potential users for our technology grows as well. Even without GPS, users can use the map view on the web to annotate, create and share. This is exciting to people creating and sharing their content as well as publishers of tour guides.”

When a user walks through the real life physical environment, a range of digital media experiences augment the ambience and “bring these spaces alive”, says Rush.

Rush mentioned a few possibilities for the new technology such as a Sony Pictures Da Vinci Code tour of Paris; a Disney tour of the Grand Canyon; or a Hertz tour of San Francisco.

Rush said that within 12 to 18 months location-aware devices will be in widespread use through PDAs and mobile phone handsets.

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