Filmmaker Taura Musgrove saw The Last Goodbye , a virtual reality (VR) documentary led by Gabo Arora by Lightshed. The documentary followed Pinchas Gutter, a Holocaust survivor and takes the user to the Majdanek concentration camp in Poland. With the help of room-scale VR, the experience takes the viewer on a tour of the camp and Pincha’s experience as a child there. The compassion and empathy felt by viewers is what Musgrove wanted to tap into when she created her augmented reality (AR) experience. Gabo Arora tells VRFocus about how with his guidance Musgrove and John Hopkins University were able to create an app that could bring the new youths in touch with their historical past in Baltimore.
Freedom Fighter is an AR app built with Apple’s ARkit that uses geofencing to bring users face-to-face with a volumetric AR model of American Civil Rights leader Dr. Lillie May Carroll Jackson. The app works only with geofencing, meaning that users can only access the content in the exact physical space where the content is made to be displayed. A little like Pokemon Go, you have to physically walk to a location to get access to certain items. Musgrove hopes that Freedom Fighter will not only connect Baltimorians with the history of their city, street corners and significant historical figures but also also show them where certain events took place with geofencing.
So if you were to download the app on an iPhone, you would physically have to walk to certain street corners in Baltimore and take out your iphone. All these locations you have to walk to, are of historical significance in the history of Baltimore and have been affected by the riots in 2015 or are in urban decay. You would hold up your phone for example and see the old National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) appear as well as an AR model of Dr. Jackson. She would then proceed to tell you about herself, the history of this corner and its significance.
Dr. Lillie May Carroll Jackson is a herald of American Civil Rights. As head of the Baltimore chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for thirty-five years, she pioneered the organization of ordinary citizens, black and white, to protest lynching, educational segregation, and police brutality. Arora, the executive producer of Freedom Fighter explains that Baltimore suffered riots in 2015, the origin of the Black Lives Matter movement and a hotbed of activism and solutions for racial and social justice. The younger generation however seem to have forgotten Baltimore’s civil rights activists and the importance of certain locations in the history of America.
The app has not been released yet, but when it is, it will be completely free to download. making it accessible to let viewers experience firsthand Dr. Jackson’s leadership, vision and strategy for activism. Arora talks about potentially bringing this into history classes in Baltimore as well as helping sustain black businesses in the community by collecting points through the app. To find out more watch the video below.