1600: Explore American history in VR with the White House’s newest app

Lulu Chang
Digital Trends

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You only need a dollar to go to the White House. That is, if you’re willing to go in VR.

With naught more than a George Washington and a smartphone, you can experience 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue like never before. And it’s all thanks to the White House’s newest technological innovation — this time involving virtual reality.

President Barack Obama’s administration has been marked by its eager embrace of technology, and the government’s newest app (aptly named 1600) certainly underscores this trend. Whether you’ve an Android or iOS device, Press secretary Josh Earnest notes that you need only “download the app, point your smartphone camera at a dollar bill, and you’ll see an interactive, 3D video of White House pop up — narrated by yours truly.”

MoreYou can buy the OnePlus 3 in virtual reality right now for $400

The app was a collaborative effort, involving both the White House Historical Association and Nexus Studios, and aims “to educate and inspire Americans to learn all about what the People’s House stands for.” As Joshua Miller, the White House’s director of product, noted, “We don’t want it to feel too much like a homework assignment from your fifth-grade teacher. We want it to feel fun, like a game.”

While it’s unclear if 1600 will be expanded to become a larger, even more educational app, Miller said that he certainly hopes this is not the end of VR in the White House. “Our hope is that if they see fit, the Historical Association continues to add to the experience,” he added.

Right now, you can check out everything from the famous Easter Egg Roll to a State Arrival Ceremony in the app, and see just how well “the White House endures as an institution of American democracy,” Earnest said. So if you’ve been meaning to take a trip to our nation’s capital, but don’t really want to leave your couch, 1600 is the app for you.

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