Make your own smart phone app: the PIRL system is a set of user-friendly web based tools to build and distribute apps which use sensors like GPS to trigger media content.

Aimed initially at the cultural and heritage market, the online software enables anyone to design, create, and deliver an experience via mobile phone app stores.

PIRL, which is being developed by technology start-up company Calvium, is part of a research project led by Watershed and funded by the Technology Strategy Board. Partners creating trial experiences for the project are Bristol Old Vic, Historic Royal Palaces and M Shed:

In December 2010, Historic Royal Palaces released Escape from the Tower, an iPhone game built with the PIRL system. Blending historical tour, treasure hunt and quiz, the app is available to visitors of the Tower of London through Calvium’s PIRL player or through a stand-alone app. You can view the video here (link) and download the game here.

In January 2011, Bristol Old Vic theatre used the software to create an experience inside its building. Featuring stories and recollections of the theatre through time, memories are automatically triggered (on audience members’ phones) in the exact location they took place and were recorded.

In June 2011, M Shed, Bristol’s new museum released Fortunes, a location based game created by Bristol-based Slingshot. The game brings history to life by engaging visitors with the city’s past and the museum’s collection outside of its physical building.

The research and development phase of PIRL concluded in May 2011. Calvium are currently exploring the model for commercial and non-commercial use going forward.