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The White House AR app

The White House has released an augmented reality (AR) app for both iOS and Android.  They call the app “1600”, the address of the White House.  They describe the app as,

“…a new way for kids and playful Americans of all ages to learn about what happens at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”

“…the app’s aim is to educate and inspire the youngest Americans to learn more about the White House’s role in our democracy.”

How it works

The concept is simple and fun.  Find yourself a $1 bill.  Walk on over to a well-lit room and place the bill flat on a table.  Then start the White House AR app.  The first thing you’ll see is a camera overlay of the outline of a $1 bill.  You need to basically center the camera on the bill on the table.  Once you’ve done that, watch the magic happen.


A White House will literally unfold in front of you.  Then a miniature helicopter will appear, fly over the White House, and land on the front lawn.  Then out comes the president and is greeted by what seems to be one of his agents.  A narrator will tell you about the White House and its “role in our democracy.”  During the narration you’ll experience a variety of public events and the White House will go through the four seasons.


During the narration you are free to interact with the White House.  You can rotate the bill and see the back of the White House.  You can move your phone closer and zoom into the events and the building itself.  There is a pause button on the left which will allow you to, you guessed it, pause the show.  The camera button on the right will allow you to, right once again, take a picture of what you are seeing.  You are 2 for 2.  Great job!


Easter Eggs

There are 3 easter eggs that I am aware of:

  1. If you hold down the pause button the AR show will go into slo-mo.  This is most effective if you use it in the beginning when the helicopter is flying around.
  2. Tap the oval office.  I have to admit, I didn’t know at first where that was.  TIP: It’s the round room on the left-side of the White House.  The inside of the oval office will rise out of the building along with the roof.
  3. Tap the roof of the White House.  Four agents will appear with binoculars looking around as if alerted of a trespasser.

Give it a try and tell me what you think.  Are there other easter eggs I didn’t mention?  What was your favorite part of the experience?  I’d like to know.

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