USA Today Network has launched its first augmented reality (AR) application, 321 Launch, to bring interactive space coverage to its audience of over 110 million.
The app is a collaboration between USA Today Network’s national brand, USA Today and one of its local news brands, Florida Today, and brings a number of exciting features to mobile devices. 321 Launch will let viewers see AR holograms of the rocket launches from liftoff to landing with over 30 scheduled for 2018. The experience guides users through an AR rocket launch from any available flat surface complete with an animated hologram showing the events unfold. Thanks to the included use of telemetry data, the app is able to generate a predictive flight-path and allow users to follow the speed, acceleration and altitude of an active rocket launch live in AR.
“With over 30 rocket launches scheduled for 2018, we’re leveraging the excitement around space as an opportunity to bring this content to our audience in a new and engaging way,” said Ray Soto, Director of Emerging Technology, USA Today Network. “We partnered with Florida Today because of their industry-leading, compelling and comprehensive coverage of the space industry, and we’re excited to continue to add new content and features to the app for our users.”
Alongside the chance to experience a launch in AR, 321 Launch will also include a number of additional features that further the experience. Firstly, the app includes live coverage of all launches with the option to switch between AR and live video broadcasts to have the ideal view. The predicted flight path can also be enjoined by pointing the mobile device up at the sky and watching the hologram rocket fly pace. Lastly, real-time commentary does not just offer expert insights on the launch and mission but also offers a chance to learn more about each element needed to launch a rocket.
“We have always had a leading voice in the space industry thanks to our deep knowledge of the field and having an office at Kennedy Space Center. And, new players have created even more attention for the Space Coast,” said Emre Kelly, Space Reporter, Florida Today. “As we look forward to the upcoming year of rocket launches, we wanted to bring our stories to life in new ways for our audience.”
The app 321 Launch is available to download now for iOS devices running iOS11 and for Android devices running Android 7.0 or later.
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