However, after a solid year of AR reporting, the Times all but abandoned its AR news coverage via its mobile app, instead opting to publish AR content via the Spark AR platform from Facebook.
Now, the publication's AR journey has come full-circle with a pair of AR camera effects visualizing the physics behind two of the sports of the Summer Games.
First, the Gymnastics in Tokyo experience explores how US gymnast Sunisa Lee performs on the uneven bars. Next, the Hurdling in Tokyo experience examines how American track and field star Dalilah Muhammad is able to run the 400-meter hurdles.
Each effect begins with a text intro before anchoring the AR experience in your physical environment. While viewing the animations, you can tap and hold the screen to view it in slow motion.
You can find the AR camera effects in the Instagram app for iOS and Android by navigating to The New York Times profile and accessing the effects tab. The effects are also highlighted by Stories posted on the account.
In addition, the Times is running ads for the experience within stories in its app on iOS and Android. I found it while reading a news article about pharma villain Martin Shkreli, and then again in the Immersive AR/VR section of the app.
The Times began shifting its AR content to Instagram about this time last year with a camera effect commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The publication has also used the platform to publish the occasional AR mini-crossword puzzle.
Meanwhile, USA Today continues to follow the original approach of the Times with its own AR news coverage, including a story on the new sports added for the Tokyo Olympics.