Augmented reality as a narrative medium can do some extraordinary things that words and images alone can not convey – such as transporting readers back 400 years.
On Thursday, the 400th Anniversary of the First African will be honored Slaves arriving in North America, USA Today launched a multimedia series titled "1619: In Search of Answers".
The series includes an augmented reality experience in the USA Today app for iOS and Android, which opens a portal to a 3D replica of the San Juan Bautista, the ship that enslaved Africans through the tortuous and often deadly mid-range Passage conveyed.
"The landing of the first enslaved Africans in 1619 is one of the major events d stems from our history, but was not treated as such," said Nicole Carroll, editor-in-chief of USA Today in a statement. "We wanted to correct that, and our goal is to educate and inform Americans about the history that continues to shape and influence the country we are in today."
The AR experience includes content authored by Dolen Perkins-Valdez and told by Tamara Winfrey-Harris. Visual hotspots throughout the virtual exhibition give users more information about the journey.
When users explore the virtual ship, spatial audio recreates the atmosphere at sea. Users can not only walk through the ship, but also see a painting by artist Richard Press, Sr. Journey aboard a slave ship ” width=”270″ height=”270″ style=”max-width:532px;height:auto;”/>