Invigorating Investigations and Information with Augmented Reality

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In our last post, we caught up with some of the most exciting use cases of augmented reality technologies in the realm of storytelling. The process of gamifying narratives is going to transform how we as people conceive of fiction, and soon we will all have video games in our books and books in our video games.


But what about non-fiction? While AR dabbles in written entertainment, the question begs to be asked about whether or not it can somehow enhance journalistic works. Legendary magazine The New Yorker has taken a novel approach to incorporating augmented reality by making its cover come to life.



Cool, right? But their use of AR doesn’t spark a rethinking of their approach to reporting. What would, you ask? As augmented reality makes an immersive experience possible, a full-fledged story that could combine numerous moving parts, varying perspectives, and time-specific information would make for an ideal use case. Enter investigative journalism: in covering the trial of the Baltimore police officer who murdered city resident Freddie Grey, The Washington Post capitalized the advantages of AR to gather and present all of the evidence, testimony, and events at the scene of the crime. The report was henceforth transformed from a rote reading exercise into a lively experience that encourages deeper learning of one of the most deeply divisive news stories of the decade. See it for yourself here.


Augmented reality helps hard-to-digest facts and figures mean something visually, and that’s crucial for understanding the world around us. The New York Times has also found that this technology can also demystify the awesome abilities of professional athletes. For this year’s Winter Olympics in South Korea, NYT released a feature via their app that allowed the world to get up-close and personal with how impressive their feats really are, from ice-skater Nathan Chen’s gravity-defying aerials to ice hockey goalie Alex Rigsby’s shot-stopping techniques. It’s a stunning project that helps Olympics fans create even deeper connections with their sport-obsession of choice.

Deeper. That’s a recurring concept in exploring the connection between the worlds of the written word and augmented reality tech. AR-based works of fiction allow readers to get deeper into narratives. AR-based journalism lends a deeper understanding of facts, figures, and remarkable feats. Not just because they visually present information that is sometimes hard to comprehend, but because they present it spatially as well, which makes any collection of words feel lifelike. Making written information feel like a lived experience is one of the remarkable powers of AR, and through the projects I’ve discussed in the last couple of weeks, we see exactly how it could transform our world.


Are you a writer? Or a reader? (Of course you are.) Have you given thought to other manners in which AR can make the written word come alive? Let us know in the comments below? And as always, thanks for reading.