Sentosa tests “world’s first” outdoor 5G extended reality experience

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A visual example of what the new XR experience would be like on Sentosa. ILLUSTRATION: Singapore Tourism Board

Singapore’s Sentosa tourist island will soon test a 5G-enabled outdoor extended reality (XR) experience that promises to captivate visitors who want to immerse themselves in a bit of alternative history.

The heritage-themed experience makes use of Fort Siloso, which was part of Britain’s defences in Singapore during World War Two, to tell a fictional tale set during the war.

In this experience, which makes use of XR technology as well as 5G on Sentosa, guests can look out for immersive audio and visuals, according to the folks behind the new setup.

Visitors can expect simulated war-time commands, for example, while they participate in the defence of the fort by experiencing it in the form of a game.

In reality, Japanese invaders landed in Singapore from the north in February 1942, bypassing the heavy fortifications in the south, including on Sentosa, where the British had expected an invasion.

In a humiliating defeat that damaged its prestige, British forces in Singapore surrendered to the Japanese on February 15, 1942. However, in this new XR experience, visitors can sample a little bit of alternative history, in a fictional defence of Singapore at a famous fort in Sentosa.

This technology trial is developed by the Singapore Tourism Board, Sentosa Development Corporation and Government Technology Agency.

Little is known of the XR experience promised from their announcement yesterday, though it is safe to assume there is some sort of digital imagery set up alongside a physical outdoor setting, which will make things interesting.

So far, much of today’s immersive VR setups require users to don headsets and almost entirely cover their field of vision with a screen to create a virtual experience.

The trial on Sentosa is open to members of the Sentosa Islander programme, from June 2 to 24. Their feedback, along with technology maturity and commercial interest, could decide if the XR experience carries on as a trial.

It is one of several 5G trials being run on the tourist island to find new uses for the mobile network that promises low latency and high bandwidth.

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