2017 - 2018

Person wearing VR glasses and pointing

AR Stories Hack Day addressed the issue of underrepresented local history in Boston's augmented reality games by engaging youth in commemorating the city's heritage through a hack-a-thon, historical tours, and collaborative storytelling, resulting in an initiative with the potential for broader impact, creating a global database of youth stories to enrich augmented reality experiences.

About the Project

Problem Space

In Boston, Pokemon GO players came from all over the city, but the game board was filled with "Poke deserts" or areas of the city with barely any stops. There needed to be a greater representation of local history, as a clear gap in historical representation existed, particularly in historically minority neighborhoods.

Proposed Intervention

AR Stories Hack Day invited youth from across Boston to participate in a hack-a-thon to commemorate Boston’s local history in augmented reality games by Niantic (the maker’s of Pokémon GO). This event included guided tours of historic locations in Dudley Square, fun group writing activities to create meaningful descriptions of historical locations, and ended with the submission of updated descriptions highlighting the rich and vibrant history of Roxbury.

Social Impact

The project was tested in Boston in April 2018 with a mind towards scaling to other cities. A database of content was created to include youth stories from around the world so that youth in Boston can augment their reality with stories from youth in other cities.