Sonnenborgh app



The Sonnenborgh app challenges young visitors be researchers for a day. This museum and observatory in Utrecht used to measure time but today Sonnenborgh aims to teach visitors about its history and scientific background. It’s important that the available space in this small museum is used to its full potential. As an observatory, Sonnenborgh wants to show its visitors what they cannot see with the naked eye.


Using iBeacons and Augmented Reality, the physical space is connected to the virtual space through a custom-made app. With a tablet placed horizontally, children aged 12 and above are led on a playful journey as scientists. Objects come to life through texts by children’s author Marc ter Horst, animations, and games. Adults can hold the tablet verti-cally to read historical information. This is how the Sonnenborgh app makes its historical and scientific background accessible to two different groups at the same time.

What were the deliverables?

• An app using iBeacons and Augmented Reality>>

The experience

Upon entering the museum and observatory Sonnenborgh, visitors are handed a tablet: this will be their museum guide. Holding the tablet horizontally, they slide out a menu showing all the subjects they can click to explore. Children hold the tablet above their head to take a selfie and get going on their journey full of curiosity and challenges. At what speed are we travelling through the universe? Are you made of stardust?

The children use the tablet to take a picture of the sun and get a fun lesson about its ele-ments. In the Meridian room, they try to figure out where the sun will be at 14:30. While the children are busy doing that, their parents hold the tablet vertically. A layer over the room’s floor plan reveals what it looked like in the past. They take their time to read the historical information.

The end of the visit is marked as the children assemble a small satellite at a desk using building blocks. The tablet even shows it lifting-off! After a day of exploring, curiosity, and lots of playful education, the children feel like true scientists!

Would you like to know more about the Sonnenborgh app or have a similar project in mind? Please get in touch with Wouter Verbiest (wouter.verbiest@yipp.nl).