Rebooting history

Banting House marks insulin’s 100-year discovery with new AR attraction developed by EXAR Studios

Photo: Dr. Frederick Banting’s bed on display at Banting House museum

WITH COVID RESTRICTIONS limiting the museum experience, London’s Banting House has partnered with local virtual reality company EXAR Studios to launch an augmented reality attraction to mark an important milestone in the 100-year anniversary of the discovery of insulin.

Launching this week, the augmented reality attraction will help reach more visitors at a time when capacities are limited at the museum itself.

According to the museum, the AR experience will “take visitors into a meticulous recreation of Dr. Frederick Banting’s bedroom, where the Banting statue in front of the museum will come to life and act out the exact moment when Dr. Banting put to paper his 25-word hypothesis that would lead to the treatment for diabetes.”

(In case you were wondering, Banting rose from his bed at 2 a.m. on October 31, 1920, to jot down this 25-word hypothesis pertaining to the extraction of a hypothetical pancreatic hormone, later referred to as insulin: “Diabetus. Ligate pancreatic ducts of dog. Keep dogs alive till acini degenerate leaving islets. Try to isolate the internal secretion of these and relieve glycosurea.” Not exactly Shakespeare, but important nonetheless.)

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“With Covid restrictions limiting the hours we are open to the public, this experience will provide an outdoor activity to add to their current routine and provide an enjoyable and educational experience,” says Grant Maltman, Banting House’s curator. “Museums are about the stories behind the objects. Our hope is that these vignettes will encourage participants in the experience to visit the museum after or even later having had a taste of what we have to offer.”

“Augmented Reality presents a new and exciting way to experience a neighbourhood by drawing on the cultural essence of an area,” adds Ben Switzer, co-founder of EXAR Studios. “Visitors enjoy the uniquely local quality of museums, small businesses, and community artworks within an interactive world that ties everything together for a fun experience.”

Rebooting history Banting House TechnologyPhoto: Exar Studios’ Shishir Pande, Edward Platero, Daniel Kharlas and Ben Switzer (file photo)

The AR attraction is the first in a series being developed in a partnership between EXAR Studios and Old East Village (OEV). With some money from the provincial government and FedDev Ontario through the Digital Main Street program, future AR experiences are being developed for local businesses and arts and culture institutions in OEV. Later this month, a series of ten audio-based experiences are going to be released, highlighting different small businesses in the area.

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“It’s more important now than ever before to support independent small businesses, which is why we at Old East Village are delighted to see these augmented reality attractions bring our local businesses to life,” says Jen Pastorius, general manager of the Old East Village Business Improvement Area.

“The Old East Village has always been home to innovative businesses and organizations, so we welcome EXAR Studio’s contribution of the Banting AR experience as a continuation of this trend. We look forward to welcoming the AR familiar or curious to explore OEV and all it has to offer to both visitors and locals alike.” Rebooting history Banting House Technology Kieran Delamont

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