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Take a Handheld Trip into the Past With This Historic Augmented Reality App

PIVOTtheWorld is like a time machine for your smartphone.
Images courtesy of PIVOTtheWorld

Forget hefty textbooks, here’s a virtual history lesson that fits in the palm of your hand. PIVOTtheWorld is a mobile app and web-based platform that will take you down an augmented reality timewarp. Originally created by Asma Jaber and Sami Jitan in Harvard’s Innovation Lab, the app's original goal was to provide a platform for historical preservation. With its video-game like AR features, however, PIVOT is as much for entertainment as it is information.


The app operates on a system of “PIVOT Points,” physical locations where users can open the app and click their ways through a miniature time machine of historical images and data. The archival database for PIVOT grows daily through open-sourced online archives and “shoe-box archiving” (a.k.a. crowdsourced image libraries). Through these available resources and the app’s AR technologies, users are led on a virtual tour through the world of yesteryear.

The PIVOTtheWorld app and web platform are now in their beta phase with a newly launched Kickstarter page to help raise money for improvements towards both bettering AR technologies and increasing user input. On-site experiments to test both systems are also underway on Harvard’s campus and abroad.

Find out more about PIVOTtheWorld on the app’s website and Kickstarter.


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