Virtual Art

OLEKSTOCK/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM (PHONE); COURTESY OF APPLE (ARTWORK)

UNREAL SCULPTURE: A creation by artist Nick Cave appears on top of a building in New York.

People in New York City, London, and Tokyo have a new way to experience works of art—using an app on their smartphones. The tech company Apple is using augmented reality (AR) to exhibit digital artworks in these and other cities around the world. When people look through their phones’ cameras, the technology shows images of artists’ creations overlaid on their surroundings.

To experience the AR artworks, people register for an [AR]T Walk at an Apple store. A tour guide then leads them on a hunt for the virtual installations around the neighborhood. The app uses a phone’s built-in global positioning system (GPS) to track the user’s location. When viewers stand in a particular spot, the art appears on their screens. The tour is just one example of how AR can enhance real-life experiences, says Robert Konrad, a Ph.D. candidate who studies AR at Stanford University in California.

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