Helping Network Rail showcase their AR capabilities.

By Nicole Bartlett
Within Network Rail, the owner of Britain’s railway infrastructure, sits a core team of technical specialists and innovative thinkers called the Digital Factory.

As part of the Digital Factory's initiative to design solutions for a better and safer railway experience, they have been experimenting with new technology, unlocking new possibilities.

Among the team's discoveries, was the potential that Augmented Reality could bring to revolutionising safety demonstrations. To present their theory to the wider business of some 40,000 employees, the Digital Factory team came up with an idea, allowing Network Rail colleagues to experience AR on their own devices, from anywhere around the country. They would include an interactive segment in the company's internal magazine, showcasing two models; the Network Rail helicopter and a company train.

Having previously partnered with us on various digital projects, the Digital Factory knew we had internal capabilities to trial new tech and most importantly, turn projects around quickly. We were tasked with building and animating two 3D models; the helicopter and the train.

Network Rail helicopter model in progress

The first step was to analyse the "anatomy" of both machines. We were sent various photographs showing all angles, colours and specifications of each object. Sketches were then made and plans conceived to break down shapes and simplify complex curves.

Network Rail train model being modelled

Stage two involved colour mapping, adding lighting effects and including small details like the Network Rail logo on both sides of each model. Once everyone was happy with the models we set up AR animations in Apple's Reality Composer.

Both Augmented Reality experiences will be published in Network Rail's internal colleague magazine later this year.

AR Helicopter animation with rotating propeller

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