New Snapchat Lens celebrates Alan Turing £50 note

The augmented reality lens scans the new banknote and turns it into an interactive experience.

The new Snapchat augmented reality lens brings the Alan Turing £50 note to life
The new Snapchat augmented reality lens brings the Alan Turing £50 note to life

Snapchat has turned the new £50 note into an interactive celebration of Alan Turing, creating an augmented reality (AR) lens that brings the banknote to life when seen through a smartphone camera.

When viewed through the Snapchat app, Turing’s portrait and quote on the new note are highlighted, before the dials of the Bombe code-breaking machine he helped develop and is also depicted on the note begin to turn.

The machine’s dials then change colour to show the colours of the Pride flag, recognising Turing’s legacy as a key figure for the LGBTQ+ community.

Turing is considered the father of computer science and artificial intelligence for his work in developing technology to break German Enigma codes during the Second World War.

The Snapchat lens, which can be used to scan the note or a photo of it, has been launched to mark the new banknote entering circulation.

It will also offer users the chance to learn more about Turing, his work and legacy, as well as take part in code-breaking puzzles created in collaboration with GCHQ and linked to the note’s design.

The note is going on display in front of the restored Bombe machine at the National Museum of Computing, where visitors will be able to use the Snapchat lens and interact with the design.

“The launch of the new £50 sees one of Britain’s most important figures honoured alongside the work he contributed to,” said Snap UK general manager Ed Couchman.

“Not only was Turing a key person in developing the industry Snap is part of today, but he also holds an important place in history for the LGBTQ+ community.

“We are proud to work with the Bank of England and the National Museum of Computing to honour Alan Turing during this year’s Pride month and hope this helps introduce a new generation to one of Britain’s most important pioneers.”

Sarah John, the Bank of England’s chief cashier, said: “We’re very excited to launch the new polymer £50 note today, featuring Alan Turing.

“We’re also pleased to be collaborating with Snapchat to bring the note to life in this creative way.

“Turing was a remarkable scientist, and his pioneering work continues to impact our everyday lives today. I hope the public will enjoy exploring the design of this note, and learning more about Turing’s life with this Snapchat lens.”

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