Tablet tour guides take to the sky on the London Eye

Even those most familiar with the London skyline could use a bit of extra help now and again. The EDF Energy London Eye, the world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel, now comes replete with interactive tablet tour guides courtesy of Bouncepad and Samsung– so there will be no more arguments with friends about what that tower on the horizon is.

Although the London Eye is one of the capital’s most popular tourist attractions, customers have frequently requested more information on the landmarks viewed on their half-hour rides in the sky. To solve this, the Eye was looking for an interactive addition that could enhance the visitor experience without overwhelming it.

With the world’s largest deployment of tablet enclosures in a public environment, visitors are able to zoom into stunning aerial images to discover more about the UK capital’s architectural highlights. Each of the 440ft-tall attraction’s 32 rotating pods includes six tablet devices, seamlessly incorporated into the capsule’s existing structure.

The tablets are dotted around the perimeter of each capsule, allowing curious visitors to understand the landmarks on view as and when they feel the need. The content, put together by LMC Design and Henry Stuart Photography, adds a whole new dimension to the London Eye’s 360-degree view of the capital, providing 3D animations, brief histories and bite-sized information on the 44 buildings featured (such as the distance from the Eye, when the building was constructed, its height, etc). Some of those included, such as 10 Downing Street and the Gherkin, have a ‘look inside’ feature that allows viewers to peek into these often highly protected buildings and see aspects usually hidden from view. Users can also flip between day and night settings, and there are five languages available.

“Creating a great app is a cost effective way of showcasing content that’s not on permanent display,” notes Malcolm Sutherland, Head of Digital Projects.

Visitors who have experienced the Bouncepad tablet tour guides say it’s difficult to imagine what the London Eye was like without them. Importantly, the installation complements rather than detracts from the view – users are not finding themselves exclusively glued to the screens, but rather dipping in and out while still enjoying the spectacular experience of travelling across the capital’s skyline.

Bouncepad was vital to the project, providing a foolproof way to secure the tablets to the pod rails without inhibiting the user experience or encroaching on the space. The custom rail mount allows a subtle, wrap-around tablet installation that doesn’t detract from the clean, minimal look of the capsules, complementing the London Eye’s high-tech aesthetic. The addition of the Tilt allows visitors to adjust the angle of each tablet and combats screen glare on sunny days.

The multi-award-winning EDF Energy London Eye was designed by renowned London-based practice Marks Barfield Architects and launched in 2000. Bouncepad’s enclosures have now been in situ since 2012, with the 192 devices rotating some 7,000 times per year, proving their longevity and robustness in such a high-traffic environment.