Business Technology

Blippar brings banknotes to life to mark Queen Elizabeth's 63-year reign

3 min read

08 September 2015

Former deputy editor

Taking inspiration from a joke that got the company started in the first place, augmented reality firm Blippar has brought Bank of England notes to life to celebrate Queen Elizabeth becoming the longest-reigning monarch.

If you’re unfamiliar with the origin story of Blippar, the firm, which raised $45m in March, started as a bit of banter down the boozer.

The company’s technology runs as a smartphone app and allows users to bring everyday objects to life, accessing hidden content via the device’s screen. For example, pointing the phone at a soft drink can to access videos and downloadable images.

But back in 2010 the company was non-existent and the aforementioned use case was just an idea waiting to be discovered.

Two friends, Ambarish Mitra and Omar Tayeb, were down the pub when Mitra joked while paying for drinks that it would be fun to bring the Queen on his £20 note to life. A few days later and tech lover Tayeb had risen to the challenge by replacing the royal with the face of Mitra.

And with Queen Elizabeth becoming the longest-reigning monarch on 9 September, boasting a 63-year rule, Blippar is going back to its roots to bring banknotes to life.

Over the next four days, Brits will be able to celebrate and get a history lesson by “blipping” any Bank of England note with the app to watch videos, view galleries and relive the Queen’s stint on the throne.

“We’re making celebrating the Queen’s record-breaking 63 years easy and fun for everyone through just ‘blipping’ a banknote,” said Omaid Hiwaizi, president of global marketing, Blippar.

“We hope people will be inspired by all the social content, videos and information about the Queen that will be at their fingertips, and we aim to show that, with Blippar, there are no limits to how people can connect to each other and the world around them.”

Read more on the Royal Family’s involvement on business:

The firm has also made it possible to take a selfie with her majesty, while users can also discover whether there’s any blue blood in their veins.

And don’t worry if cash flow is a bit tight – the bundle of memorable moments can be accessed with an online image of a banknote too. In attempt to do a bit of good, Blippar has also made it possible for people to donate to charities the Queen champions.

Check out the video below for how to get started