IBM, NYT launch museum-like 'Hidden Figures' AR experience

Dive Brief:

  • IBM and The New York Times' T Brand Studio have created an augmented reality experience called “Outthink Hidden” based on the upcoming movie "Hidden Figures," according to a press release. The project serves as a sort "virtual museum" exploring the history and accomplishments of the three black women mathematicians who are the focus of the film. 
  • The AR experience will launch in the new T Brand Studio AR app, and the content can be activated on mobile devices at, via select print editions of the newspaper and at physical plinths at CES.
  • "We knew we couldn't build The Times's first AR experience just because we had the means to do it; we needed the right partner and the right story to tell," said Sebastian Tomich, senior vice president, advertising & innovation, The New York Times, in the release. "When we spoke to IBM about their work with 'Hidden Figures,' we recognized that this was an opportunity to bring users into the experience of the film and the remarkable women it showcases.” 

Dive Insight:

"Outthink Hidden" highlights one of the ways publishers might tap AR technology as a storytelling channel. The New York Times has been a leader in the space in terms of building out immersive technology, with early experiments with Google Cardboard VR and now the new offerings from the T Brand Studio and IBM.

The experience was created by VR- and AR-oriented design agency Fake Love, which was acquired by The New York Times last August. This the first project the agency has created for the Times since the acquisition.

This year, VR and AR technology might start to approach a sort of critical mass in terms of consumer exposure as more publishers and brands begin dipping their toes in the experiential waters. Last summer, Pokemon Go became a breakout viral summer hit, with its AR gaming experience signaling to the marketplace that people were more than willing to interact with AR experiences on their smartphones.

The game also provided marketers with a blueprint on how AR tech can bridge the online and offline experience while deeply engaging users. "Outthink Hidden" and the idea of a "virtual museum" shows how that connection can extend beyond gaming. 

Filed Under: Corporate News Mobile
Top image credit: IBM