News: New York Times Leads Readers on an AR Journey Through the Cave That Trapped the Thai Soccer Team

New York Times Leads Readers on an AR Journey Through the Cave That Trapped the Thai Soccer Team

One of the more compelling human interest stories of the summer has been the plight of the Thai Wild Boars soccer team, who were trapped in a cave for weeks.

To show just how perilous the largely unchartered cave was, The New York Times has transported its readers into an augmented reality recreation of several of the Tham Luang Cave's openings.

Images by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

When viewed through the NY Times app for iOS or Android on ARKit or ARCore-compatible devices, the article presents a black wall with life-sized cutouts depicting the various openings the boys, their coach, and their rescuers encountered throughout the cave.

This is the seventh AR feature since the newspaper's immersive wing began the practice in February. However, the claustrophobic experience is a departure from previous experiences, which have mostly been limited to presenting 3D models of subjects ranging from Winter Olympics athletes and David Bowie costumes to volcanic destruction in Guatemala and chemical warfare in Syria.

"Each time we are trying new things and so that requires further attention to new design interactions to understand what works intuitively," said Graham Roberts, director of immersive platforms storytelling for the New York Times in an email to Next Reality.

Images by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

Other publications, such as the former Time, Inc. family of magazines, the Washington Post, and USA Today, are also applying augmented reality to news coverage, but within just six months, The New York Times has demonstrated a commitment to integrating the technology as a regular component of its storytelling.

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Cover image via New York Times

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