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Innovation Inspires ‘Outthink Hidden’ AR Experience

An augmented reality (AR) experience that focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) innovators, Outthink Hidden was inspired by the film Hidden Figures. Recounting the true story of three female African American NASA mathematicians, Hidden Figures follows their groundbreaking calculations for spaceship trajectories that helped put astronaut John Glenn in orbit.

These three mathematicians, one of whom was involved in programming a first-of-its-kind IBM mainframe, are among the 10 innovators showcased in the AR project, developed by IBM and The New York Times Company’s T Brand Studio. “We recognized that this was an opportunity to bring users into the experience of the film and the remarkable women it showcases,” explains Sebastian Tomich, senior vice president, advertising and innovation, The New York Times.

Similar to a “virtual museum,” the app lets users explore an array of 3D computer graphics renderings, written histories and audio and video narratives. The AR comes into play when the app is launched in one of 150 “activation locations” across the United States. In these spaces, a digital layer with 3D images, descriptive text, video and audio is overlaid on the mobile device’s images of the location.

Outthink Hidden is the first experience within T Brand Studio AR. The app is available for free download on iTunes and Google Play. The AR content can be activated on a mobile device at and through select print editions of The New York Times.