Cleaning Up The Nation’s Air

An AR Experience for British Heart Foundation

An augmented reality experience focused on highlighting the urgent issue of air pollution in the UK.

Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to health in the UK, with around 11,000 deaths a year from heart disease and circulatory conditions like stroke attributed to long-term exposure to polluted air. We need to see stricter guidelines on air pollution as a matter of urgency.
— Simon Gillespie - Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation

British Heart Foundation wanted to create an engaging experience to take to the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences this autumn, that spoke to MPs about how closely air pollution in our cities is linked to heart and circulatory diseases. They wanted the MPs to be sufficiently shocked by the impact of air pollution so that they feel the urgency to act.

Having previously worked with the British Heart Foundation when creating a 360 video experience for them in 2017 we were delighted to develop an AR experience to deliver on their brief.

Kate Green Labour MP for Stretford & Urmston experiencing the AR at the Labour Party conference.

Kate Green Labour MP for Stretford & Urmston experiencing the AR at the Labour Party conference.

The UK currently subscribes to EU legal limits on PM2.5. However, these are not as strict as the guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization, which the BHF is calling for the UK Government to adopt. Using AR technology is an incredibly innovative and impactful way to transmit a message. What we have created with the British Heart Foundation is an experience that should shock MPs and inspire them to act immediately.
— Ashley Cowan - Producer & Owner, East City Films

Starting with a 2D Sim City style map of a city, the AR experience is triggered when placing an iPad over the map. Before the MPs very eyes a 3D city appears in front them with moving cars, operating factories, ploughing tractors and houses. Encouraged to look around the city, triggering info points with stats about air pollution the MPs are asked to move interactive sliders which increase the level of pollution in front of them from the houses, traffic and factories. What they see is smoke and exhaust fumes billow above the city. Moving onto an animation of a human body with X ray images of the heart, lungs and major arteries, by the end of the experience the MPs are left in no doubt as to how air pollution is posing such huge risks to our heart and circulation.

 
 
The app begins as a 3D city emerges from a 2D map on top of a plinth.

The app begins as a 3D city emerges from a 2D map on top of a plinth.

Users can increase the level of pollution by interacting with the sliders.

Users can increase the level of pollution by interacting with the sliders.

 
 
The human body animation demonstrates what affect that pollution can have on the heart and circulation.

The human body animation demonstrates what affect that pollution can have on the heart and circulation.

The message is made loud and clear at the end of the experience.

The message is made loud and clear at the end of the experience.

 
 
The message getting out there with Stephen Timms Labour MP for East Ham. As it was to around 20 Labour MPs.

The message getting out there with Stephen Timms Labour MP for East Ham. As it was to around 20 Labour MPs.

An app was built specifically for the event and comes preloaded on the iPads. The experience sits within a visually arresting stand at each party conference, with the message “Invisible. Deadly. Inescapable.” making sure the MPs leave in no doubt of the urgency of the matter.

PRODUCED BY ASHLEY COWAN AT EAST CITY FILMS | AR DEVELOPMENT BY TONY LANDAIS AT MYLIAISON