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Verizon’s AR Museums: Smithsonian Artifacts Live

Verizon and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s Interaction Lab, are calling on creators and technology entrepreneurs to build interactive tools that redefine the way people visit, interact with, and learn from museums. Smithsonian ar

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Launching later this fall, Activating Smithsonian Open Access will award $10,000 commissions to up to six teams to build working prototypes. Using 2D and 3D digitized collection objects from the Smithsonian Open Access Initiative, the selected teams will develop experiences with support from Verizon, Cooper Hewitt, and industry mentors and be given the opportunity to develop and test their applications at Verizon’s 5G Labs. With COVID-19 making physical distance the new norm, Cooper Hewitt will look to continue developing successful prototypes to be integrated into the museum’s digital offerings, as remote extensions of the museum-going experience. Sign up here!

As our first public commissioning venture for the Interaction Lab, we’re thrilled to be supporting independent creators and teams in creating new digital tools and immersive experiences with Smithsonian’s incredible library of Open Access collections. Not only does this offer new approaches to engaging new audiences, but also represents a new way of working at Cooper Hewitt,” says Carolyn Royston, Cooper Hewitt’s Chief Experience Officer.


Verizon Launches AR Museum Experience 

Verizon has already utilized the Smithsonian Open Access Initiative’s collection to aid parents, students and teachers looking for new and engaging educational content. Verizon is offering a first wave of content that brings to life artifacts housed across Smithsonian’s network of museums and galleries. Verizon’s 5G Labs and RYOT, Verizon Media’s next generation immersive studio, used augmented reality (AR) and narrated audio to complement 3D assets made available to the public by the Smithsonian.

You can now point your phone or tablet at a QR code, and the museum artifact will virtually jump out of your device onto the table. Imagine learning all about how the woolly mammoth became extinct while walking around its skeleton in 3D from various angles. The first wave of Verizon’s experiences also includes content and artifacts about Hellen Keller, Anne Sullivan, the Wright Flyer, and a Supernova to name a few. These next gen content experiences, created by Verizon Media Immersive – the largest online XR platform for advertising and content, powered by 5G – can be accessed via webAR by visiting Verizon 5G Labs and Yahoo! Life which will feature a special QR code to place the museum artifact in one’s space.

“Whether kids have returned to the classroom or are remote learning, we need to think of new ways technology can help them engage with educational content,” said Sanyogita Shamsunder, Vice President of Technology Development and 5G Labs at Verizon. “Activating Smithsonian Open Access is a great step forward toward immersive, interactive, and remote experiences made with the creative community. Verizon’s new AR museum sets the stage for even more amazing enhancements when paired with the massive bandwidth and low latency of Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network.” Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband is now available in parts of 55 cities.

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Verizon recently unveiled its Citizen Verizon responsible business plan which includes an education platform geared towards grades K-12 that will address the new hybrid learning models emerging from COVID-19. The platform will support district leaders, teachers, parents and students; enhance teacher resources with a focus on remote learning and expert tech guidance for districts; provide parents with digital literacy training; and offer engaging content for under-resourced youth.

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