Snapchat adds AR lens to new £50 Turing bank note


Anyone in possession of the new £50 note – released today by the Bank of England – will be able to celebrate the life of mathematician Alan Turing in a new way, thanks to an augmented reality (AR) lens on Snapchat.  

The public can bring their money to life, and interact and learn about one of the UK’s most important wartime figures, Alan Turing, as well as his work on the Bombe machine which was used to break German codes in World War 2. 

Rather than crack a code, they can open up Snapchat, and scan the new polymer £50 note to bring it to life through Augmented Reality. Through the AR experience, the dials of the Bombe start turning from the sketch on the note to the working machine.

The dials then change colour to represent the colours of the Pride flag. Finally, Snapchatters are prompted to ‘Learn More’ where they will be forwarded to the Bank of England’s £50 note page. As well as learning about the note and Turing, they can also take part in code-breaking puzzles created in collaboration with GCHQ and based on the Turing £50 note design.

Alan Turing is regarded as the ‘father of computer science and AI’, but he is also an extremely important figure for the LGBTQ+ community. In 1952 he was chemically castrated after being charged with gross indecency for engaging in homosexual acts.

He was posthumously pardoned in 2013, and in 2017, the “Alan Turing law” was created, that retroactively pardoned men cautioned or convicted under historical legislation that outlawed homosexual acts.

For those who don’t have a £50 note, the currency will be on display from today, Wednesday 23rd June at The National Museum of Computing, in front of the restored version of the Bombe machine, used to decrypt Enigma and depicted on the new note.

Says Ed Couchman, Snap’s UK General Manager:

“The launch of the new £50 sees one of Britain’s most important figures honoured alongside the work he contributed to. 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.”

Adds Sarah John, Bank of England Chief Cashier:

“’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.”

  To use the AR Lens:

  • Simply open the Snapchat app, or download it for free if you don’t have it, then point the camera at the Snapcode
  • Press and hold the Snapcode on your phone screen to unlock the AR Lens
  • Once unlocked, hover over the new £50, 
  • Watch as it transforms the polymer note bringing Alan Turing and the Bombe to life! (Remember to have your volume on to hear the sound effects!)





Chris Price
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