back to article James May 'hologram' raves about old tech at Science Museum

Top Gear presenter James May has been transformed into a floating chatterbox spectre that hovers next to exhibits in the London Science Museum. In a new app hyped as "the first augmented-reality application to fuse a TV personality with museum exhibits", the curly-haired petrolhead is superimposed on a phone's camera display …


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  1. John Arthur

    First laser?

    "A 1907 lighthouse that used prisms to amplify the light without need for an excessively thick lens".

    No, the prisms focus the light into a beam. There is no amplification involved. Back to school!

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: First laser?

      Not only that... A prism splits light into its component parts, and although it would look very pretty, a lighthouse beaming a rainbow across the sea wouldn't be very helpful.

      It's simply a different kind of lens, called a Fresnel lens. In essence it is a standard lens cut into concentric circles with the "dead" block of square glass with parallel sides removed from the middle. This leaves just the inner and outer curves, which are the parts which provide the light bending effect for a lens.

      1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Re: First laser?

        Very very good point, my fault for a moment of lost concentration. The article's been fixed: the word we were looking for is 'focus'. I think it's fair to say that a Fresnel lens is essentially an array of prisms.


        1. Yag

          "... a Fresnel lens is essentially an array of prisms."

          And the internet is essentially a serie of tubes.

          (Sorry, could not resist :))

          1. Chris Hainey

            Re: "... a Fresnel lens is essentially an array of prisms."

            You utter bastard. I have that bloody song stuck in my head now

      2. ridley

        Re: First laser?

        Whenever light is refracted the light is split into its component parts to a greater or lesser degree, it is just that a prism refracts it two times and each time to an extreme degree.

        All simple lenses split the light into its components and it is a PITA if you try to build an inexpensive telescope/camera as it leads to chromatic aberration, expensive compund lenses are used to try and remove the aberration.

  2. Paul Johnston

    Oh No!

    Where is the Flying Scotsman with realistic chuffing sound?

    My son is going to be distraught!

  3. jai


    why couldn't you have included a close up photo of the marker in the review? I tried in vain to get the app to pick up the marker from the photos included, they're too out of focus.

    (yes, I know I could get the QR codes from the SciMu website, but that's no where near as fun on a friday afternoon as getting it from a picture on an unrelated website is it?)

    re: AR app - i'm a bit disapointed to find that it's just Mr May talking to you. I was hoping the AR in this app would be more involved with the exhibts. For example, the bisected Mini - in an AR app they could show the missing pieces of the Mini and peal them off as they get described. For other exhibits, the AR could impose authentic backgrounds around the items so you can see them in their surroundings. For the Natural History, AR apps could be used to put flesh and skin on top of the dinosaur bones...

    1. amanfromearth

      Peal them off..

      To the sound of bells ringing presumably.

  4. Paul Westerman
    IT Angle


    Photos of half a Mini and a Model T but no Cray 1 pic? :(

    1. B-D

      Re: Aw..

      Or half built analytical engine.

  5. lukewarmdog

    Missed opportunity

    To do a Banksy and put a printed copy of The Register amongst the exhibits.

  6. MrT
    Thumb Up

    Only a couple of minutes of chatter...?

    This isn't the James May you are looking for...

  7. B-D

    He's armless enough

    James: When doing green/blue screen work, don't rest your arms behind your back.... it makes you look like a thalidomide victim :(

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I might go, its just a massive shame that James May is nothing but an annoying dumb tit trumped out for nearly everything vaguley 'sciencey' on the BBC.

    Just why is El-Reg covering this nobody who the BBC made a somebody, landing a gig as an unoriginal piece of AR gimmickyness at a museum?

    <<<<<<Can't find the TIT icon.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Shame

      They should definitely have got an expert scientist nobody every heard of, who mumbles into their beard, instead.

      Welcome to the real world, where the aim is to get people into the museum.

    2. Marty

      Re: Shame

      I was counting how many posts it would take before someone had a pop at James May. He may not be your cup 'o' tea but he has got a way of talking about things as though he does actually know what he is talking about, in a non condescending way to lesser mortals

      Its because of this that the BBC have used him in many programs as it appears the public do like him and his manner of explanation. The BBC would not have shoved him in front of the camera every time if nobody liked him.

      now as you appear to be a know it all and don’t need the science dumbing down in the fun sort of way that May is good at, then why you think you need to comment on something that is clearly of no interest to you is beyond me !

      "<<<<<<Can't find the TIT icon."............... try looking in a mirror...

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shame


      Jeremy, next time consider using your account on El Reg so that we all know it's you :P

    4. Fibbles

      Re: Shame

      What's so wrong with James May? Sure he's no genius but he does appear to have some idea of what he's talking about when it comes to engineering. That's more than can be said for most of the BBC's technology correspondents who just regurgitate press releases and uninformed opinion from twitter.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why opt for a midget James May...

    ...when they could have had an actual-sized Richard Hammond?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    James May

    But Clarkson certainly does...

    1. Cunningly Linguistic

      Re: James May

      He does according to the super-secret court injunctions :)

  11. min

    i hope his fucking hologram is better informed than he tends to be in real life. twat.

  12. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Why not Magnus Pike?

    Or did his arms fall off, like James' seem to have?

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