Veterans' war memories given life in 'virtual' tour

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Media caption,

Veterans go on a simulated tour of the Lady Haig poppy factory in Edinburgh

The memories and voices of war veterans have been brought to life using virtual reality technology.

Poppyscotland has teamed up with games developers at Abertay University on the unusual Remembrance project.

Headsets take users on a simulated tour of the Lady Haig poppy factory in Edinburgh where objects trigger a series of personal stories.

Seven veterans provided the soundtrack, sharing their reasons for signing up, stories of battle and friendship.

Called Their Memory, the innovative project aims to share poignant, humorous and harrowing accounts with new audiences.

The former service personnel who gave up their memories have served their country across various major conflicts.

'Something very special'

The project was led by Dr Iain Donald of Abertay's School of Design and Informatics and research assistant Emma Houghton.

Dr Donald said: "As one of the world's leading computer games universities we regularly collaborate on industry-led and charity projects, but Their Memory is something very special.

"We were delighted to be able to work with Poppyscotland and their brave veterans to produce this unique new way of remembering those who gave up their lives in conflict."

The project saw the veterans open up to the Abertay team about what the Poppy and Remembrance mean to them.

Image caption,
Objects personal to the veterans are laid out in virtual reality

The immersive experience allows the user to select objects, personal to the veterans, which are laid out in the poppy factory.

Items include a poppy, a poppybox, letters and pictures from children, a mortar shell, a model tank, a plane, a copy of an oath, a bullet, a coffee mug from Bosnia and a Nato flag.

Once selected by the user, each item triggers a Poppyscotland video or an interview soundtrack of a veteran describing a related memory.

Gordon Michie, head of fundraising at Poppyscotland said: "It is vital that we preserve and share the memories of veterans experiences so that they are understood and recognised for generations to come.

"Poppyscotland strives to be innovative in the way in which we do this and utilising the latest virtual reality technology allows us to both reach new audiences and provide them with a truly immersive, memorable experience."

The next stage of the project is to secure further funding to explore how it can be used.

The current version is due to be released on the Oculus Go virtual reality platform.

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