BIG (Brookline Interactive Group) and The Public VR Lab are partnering with the Traces.io app to bring the first ever participatory, location-based augmented reality (AR) project to Brookline. BIG invites residents, charities, runners, spectators, and local businesses to participate by sharing their memories and stories from a beloved local event: the Boston Marathon, in an AR app.
“This is a cutting-edge participatory media project,” shared BIG’s executive director, Kathy Bisbee, “and we are gathering the community’s stories about the past and present of the Boston Marathon as it routes through Brookline.”
Bisbee said that the project is the first of its kind in the world, one that uses place-based AR for participatory, community storytelling. Runners from Team Brookline and several Beacon St. merchants have shared their stories by recording a production in BIG’s Tappan street media studios. Bisbee shared how the stories will appear in augmented reality along the marathon route and can be “captured” on a smartphone, similar to “Pokemon Go” Bisbee described.
“Our staff are compressing the short video stories and adding them in to augmented reality (AR), but the community can add their own straight from their phone. It’s easy, but we can also teach them how to share their stories in AR.”
Beau Lotto, founder of Traces, and a neuroscientist based in London said, “Through the use of Augmented Reality, Traces will enable people to leave their memories of the Boston Marathon in the place where it actually happened. And for years hence these individual memories of this great endurance can be experience long after the race has finished.”
Runners and spectators can add their own stories before, on, or after Marathon Monday through the Traces app, found at Traces.io. Along the marathon route on Beacon Street, near Coolidge Corner and Washington Square, spectators and visitors can use the app to view the stories floating through the air along Beacon Street, waiting to be discovered, caught, and read/watched.
The Traces app, which you can learn more about here , is an innovative app that uses Augmented Reality (similar to Pokemon Go!- often referred to as “AR,”) in which users can find, capture, and then view stories around them. The stories are in specific locations, so to locate them, one activates the app and uses it to find “bubbles” nearby and “pop” them – once they do this, the story that was left there, which could be in the form of an audio file, photo, or video, appears on their phone for them to enjoy. Users can also create and post their own stories on a map for others to find.
BIG is partnering with Traces to create original local content to be placed around Brookline and the surrounding communities in the app, which community members can then view. Bisbee is interested in sharing and expanding this project, hoping next year to have each town along the marathon route involved in creating and sharing their stories along the Boston Marathon miles through their towns. Initially, this project will focus on the Boston Marathon route as it winds through two miles of Beacon Street in Brookline.
To participate through the production studios at BIG, one can sign up to come in to BIG on a Tuesday evening or Wednesday afternoon to briefly talk about their marathon memories, which could range from a yearly tradition, standout memory, or even their thoughts on this famous event. Participating will take no more than 30 minutes. BIG will professionally film, edit, and produce a brief video for each participant, and then place their story along the marathon route in Brookline. Alternatively, anyone in the Boston area and on Marathon Monday can add stories directly through the Traces.io app to the “Marathon Moments” storytelling campaign.
To learn more and sign up for a time to film your marathon moment or to learn how to use the Augmented Reality app, please visit their website. For questions, please contact Erin Kinney at [email protected]