Halloween in D.C.: Smithsonian brings skeletons to life with 3-D app

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The Smithsonian Institution is bringing the dead back to life in Washington, D.C., this Halloween with an augmented reality app.

Visitors of the National Museum of Natural History will have the opportunity to download the new “Skin & Bones” app and interact with the century-old Bones Hall’s variety of vertebrates as they once appeared in the flesh.

The app, downloadable from the iTunes store on Apple products, uses augmented reality technology — a relative of 3-D, virtual reality that superimposes digital images atop the user’s physical surroundings. For instance, from the naked eye, visitors may see the skeletal structure of a mandrill in the monkeys section of the Bones Hall. But using the app, visitors can aim their mobile devices at the primate, tap on it, and it will display the monkey fully fleshed, with the blue and red nose for which it’s known.

The animals even come to life on the app.

“The app allows you to choose any of the skeletons by simply tapping on the image. You can choose animal life and watch videos that have crystal clear quality. You are sure to snap your head backwards as you watch the eastern diamondback rattlesnake snap at you,” Nirmala Ramprasad, a senior adviser with the Social Security Administration, wrote on the General Services Administration’s DigitalGov blog.

Along with the augmented reality features, the app offers two games, two interactive activities and 32 videos of animals from around the world. The app is also audio friendly, so visitors are encouraged to bring headphones.

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Applications & Software, apps, Smithsonian, Tech
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