Do you have a dollar bill right now? Then you can get an Arizona iced tea. Or, you can whip that bill out, lay it flat on a table, and conjure an augmented reality low-poly recreation of the White House. The choice is yours.
1600 is a new free app from the White House Historical Association and Nexus Studios (the UK-based studio that actually developed the app). To use the app, all you need is a smartphone and a single dollar bill. Position your phone’s camera over the bill, and it transforms into a virtual miniature recreation of the big house on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
leads you through a year in the White House
1600 guides you through a year in the White House complete with narration, leading the viewer via traditions that are bestowed upon the house. Events like the Easter Egg Roll, all the way to the seasons as they change and the activities that they inevitably bring, like building snowmen. The viewer can move their phone close and peer around the AR White House as well, catching small glimpses of hidden Easter Eggs of their own.
1600 was developed in an effort to engage kids with American history through AR, much like they’re already used to in apps like Pokémon Go. “We don’t want it to feel too much like a homework assignment from your fifth-grade teacher,” White House director of product Joshua Miller told The Verge. “We want it to feel fun, like a game.”
President Obama has arguably been our most enthusiastic commander-in-chief about technology. The White House, just last month, announced a challenge (submissions ending January 17th) for developing VR and AR educational tools. Obama himself appeared in a virtual tour through Yosemite National Park, which was created in collaboration with Oculus, The White House, and National Geographic. Heck, he was even a guest editor for WIRED magazine in October of this year. Now his presidency can add connoisseur to the technology belt.