The White House just launched an augmented reality app - Technical.ly DC

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Dec. 2, 2016 7:38 am

The White House just launched an augmented reality app

Grab your smartphone and a dollar bill. We're going on a tour of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

The White House, er, dollar bill, in action.

(Screenshot)

Leave it to the Obama administration to figure out ways to pile on the tech fun in the waning days of this presidency.

On Thursday, in a blog post on whitehouse.gov, Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced that the White House has launched a new augmented reality app. 1600, as the app is known, allows users to “experience a year at the White House” by simply aiming the app at a dollar bill.

Watch as the dollar transforms itself into a tiny, augmented version of the White House complex — see Marine One land on the lawn as little figures take tours of the grounds and fireworks burst over the top of the building. Eventually, it will begin to snow. You can even move the phone to see the building and its story from various angles. Just be careful not to get too excited (as this reporter did, several times) — if you move your phone too far away from a direct line of sight to the dollar bill, the whole show stops.

For those of us with steady hands, though, it’s very cool.

“You’ll see that even as seasons and people change, the White House endures as an institution of American democracy,” Earnest writes.

The creation of the app is a partnership between the White House, the White House Historical Association and Nexus Studios. The app may be a little bit of a delayed response to the AR fervor brought on by Pokémon Go this summer, but hey, it’s cool to see that the administration that brought us POTUS on Snapchat and an open-source Facebook messenger bot is still having fun experimenting with technology.

Organizations: White House
People: Barack Obama
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