White House Android AR App '1600' Lands On The Play Store

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In case you have ever wondered what happens on a daily basis at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., the White House has just crafted an answer for you. In fact, it did so in the form of an app aptly entitled 1600. The app appeared on the Google Play Store just yesterday and while the app itself is free to download, you're going to need a dollar to use it. On the bright side, you won't have to spend it. Namely, 1600 is an augmented reality app which builds a tiny virtual White House on top of any dollar bill. Just lay the note on any flat surface with George Washington looking up, start the app, and point your phone's camera at the first President of the United States.

1600 only takes a moment to identify the dollar bill, after which you'll get to explore the exterior of the White House from all angles and watch a bunch of virtual tourists, politicians, and diplomats go about their daily business while you're observing them. Fortunately for people who don't have a dollar bill at hand, 1600 doesn't exactly differentiate between an actual banknote and a still image of one, so you can also trick the app into starting by pointing your camera at any high-resolution picture of the said note. As you can see from the image above.

As for the app itself, 1600 was developed by the White House Historical Association and the UK-based Nexus Studios. As Joshua Miller, Product Director at White House told The Verge, the goal was to create an educational app for kids who are used to playing AR games like Pokemon GO and using Snapchat, i.e. the app's AR filters. So, while certainly entertaining in its own right, 1600 was primarily designed to educate younger children on learning about the White House. Whether the app actually succeeds in that endeavor remains to be seen, but regardless of that, this is an excellent example of how one can combine technology with education and entertainment.

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You can install 1600 on any smartphone or tablet running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or newer. While primarily designed for young Americans, the app was launched globally, so anyone in the world can use it to experience the wonders of augmented reality. Last but not least, once you're done exploring the outside of the tiny White House that pops up on your desk, tap on the Oval Office to see an amusing Easter egg.

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