Cambridge’s history reimagined thanks to mobile app

16 March 2020

Cambridge Museum app
The Cambridge Museum app maps historical sites in Cambridge.

One of Waikato University’s computer science experts has created an app that’s helping to reimagine the history of Cambridge, New Zealand.

Associate Professor Annika Hinze has been working closely with the Cambridge Museum to develop an app mapping out historical sites in Cambridge.  Museum visitors who have downloaded the app are then alerted to artifacts and stories relating to each historical site.

Dr Hinze says the app gives users first-hand experience of Cambridge’s history.

“The Cambridge app is free for everyone to use. It offers self-guided tours that combine local stories with historic artefacts that can be viewed ‘in the flesh’ in the museum. New tours are in preparation, designed by both the Museum and Cambridge iSite.”

To aid the creation of such location-based apps, Dr Hinze developed the Tipple software, which is the backbone of several mobile apps. It allows users to create their own app content, and to manage location-based tours.

Dr Hinze used Tipple to develop a similar app for the Hamilton Gardens back in 2018, and one for Christchurch City Council in 2019.

The Hamilton Gardens app gives users a virtual experience of the very popular Hamilton landmark, allowing users to explore the gardens via several guided tours, and listen to the history behind each garden.

Dr Annika Hinze
Dr Annika Hinze, Head of the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at Waikato, worked closely with the Cambridge Museum on developing the app.

In collaboration with Christchurch City Council’s Heritage Team and the Addington Neighbourhood Association, Dr Hinze developed an app for the Christchurch suburb of Addington. In the app, heritage information and local stories are presented to both citizens and tourists.

More recently, Dr Hinze has been involved in the creation of a ‘smart shirt’, equipped with built-in sensors to help improve safety for forestry workers.

The Hakituri project, which has been going for a few years, received MBIE Smart Ideas funding in 2018, and works by monitoring heart-rate and perspiration, looking for signs of fatigue or dehydration through the shirt’s sensors.

Dr Hinze hopes to develop more apps in the future, working with local museums and communities.

“It is very satisfying to develop software that enables people who are not into creating their own technology solutions to build their own mobile apps andtell their stories.”

You can download the app here for Android, and here for iOS.

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