"It was crucial to develop an integrated approach: first, locating AR within the New York Times app, rather than in a separate download, and second, finding a way to integrate each AR experience inside a story, like any other piece of multimedia" Graham Roberts, Head of Immersive Platform Storytelling at the New York Times


The AR activation focuses on three U.S. athletes, and one Austrian: figure skater Nathan Chen, mid-air in a quadruple jump; short track speed skater J.R. Celski, low in a tight turn; hockey goalie Alex Rigsby, splayed across the net mid-save; and Austrian snowboarder Anna Gasser, frozen mid-spin and mid-jump. Walking around each of the athletes opens up new points of view and informative detail about specific parts of their sport.

This kind of whole-body, 3-D experience requires more explicit instruction than an interactive infographic. "It's less about abstraction," said Roberts. "It's less about pinch to zoom or clicking. If you want to pick something up close you walk up to it and lean into it. If you want to see something from the other side you walk around it." The UI is peppered with haptic responses and visual highlights that light up as the user walks around the AR object. Over time, the NYT team believes, these steps will become intuitive.
AR also opens up new possibilities for brands. The activation includes a sponsored bit of AR from Ralph Lauren: a 3-D view of ice dancers Alex and Maia Shibutani.

"The New York Times Olympics AR experience is an incredibly creative and innovative concept that lets the consumer engage with Olympic athletes and experience the opening ceremony uniform from the palm of their hand," David Lauren, Ralph Lauren's Chief Innovation Officer.

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