IBM (NYSE: IBM) and The New York Times Company’s (NYSE: NYT) T Brand Studio announced the launch of “Outthink Hidden,” an augmented reality (AR) experience that brings unsung heroes of innovation to life. It is inspired by the 20th Century Fox film, “Hidden Figures,” and launches inside the new T Brand Studio AR app.
The movie, which will be in theaters on January 6, recounts the true story of three female African American mathematicians as the heroes at NASA during the 1960s Space Race. Their groundbreaking calculations for spaceship trajectories, which helped put John Glenn in orbit, involved programming a first-of its-kind IBM mainframe.
“Outthink Hidden” explores the stories of heroes featured in “Hidden Figures” as part of 10 innovators in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Similar to a virtual museum, people can explore an array of 3D computer graphics renderings, written histories and audio and video narratives.
It is available via the T Brand Studio AR app for free download on iTunes and Google Play. The AR content can be activated on a mobile device at IBM.com/hiddenfigures, through select print editions of The New York Times, or at physical plinths at CES in Las Vegas, January 5-8. In addition, the content can be activated at one of 150 “geofenced” locations across the U.S. (see more information below).
Unlike virtual reality (VR) apps, where immersive content is experienced via a headset, AR enables people to view a physical space through a different medium (in this case, a mobile device screen). It uses sensors to activate a digital layer that augments the space using visuals such as 3D images, descriptive text, video and audio.
“Outthink Hidden” highlights the accomplishments of the three “hidden figures” from the movie (including Dorothy Vaughan, who taught herself and others how to program NASA’s IBM mainframe), as well as other diverse STEM pioneers such as: Bessie Blount Griffin, who invented a feeding device for injured World War II veterans; Sara Josephine Baker, who changed the way the world thought about public health and created the role of the school nurse; Abraham Nemeth, who developed the Nemeth Code for Braille Mathematics; and Charles Drew, who created the first large-scale blood bank in the U.S.
The 150 activation locations across the U.S. include popular tourist spots in 10 cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston, Atlanta and Houston); notable STEM centers (NASA Langley Research Center, Kennedy Space Center, the Computer History Museum in San Francisco, Center of Science and Industry in Columbus, Ohio, Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Science, etc.) and STEM universities (California Polytechnic State, North Carolina State, Duke, Cornell, Princeton, University of Michigan, Northwestern, etc.).
“IBM has a long history of commitment to STEM, and to fostering diversity, tolerance and inclusion, which is core to our company’s culture and values,” said Ann Rubin, Vice President, Branded Content and Global Creative, IBM. “We were inspired to use this app to share the stories of unsung STEM innovators who have changed the lives of people around the world.”
“Outthink Hidden” is the first experience within T Brand Studio AR and it is the first project produced by integrated experience design agency Fake Love since it was acquired by The New York Times Company in August 2016. “Outthink Hidden” was co-created with IBM and its agency partner, Ogilvy & Mather.
“We’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to tap into Fake Love’s wealth of talent and creativity when it comes to experiential storytelling,” said Sebastian Tomich, senior vice president, advertising & innovation, The New York Times. “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. 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.”
For more information about IBM’s involvement in “Hidden Figures,” go to ibm.com/hiddenfigures.
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