Many native New Yorkers, like myself, get a chance to visit the famed Statue of Liberty during school trips when they're a child in grade school. And if you're not lucky enough to be born in the city, you have to make a special trip to the monument as a tourist.
Alas, many can't afford the time or expense for a trip to the Big Apple to see one of America's real treasures. Now, that's no longer an issue, as there's an augmented reality app that can take you there right from the palm of your hand.
Released in conjunction with the opening of the new Statue of Liberty Museum on Liberty Island in New York, the Statue of Liberty app for iOS (no Android version yet) allows you to experience some of the awe and wonder associated with the massive, iconic statue that has greeted immigrants for well over a century.
The museum, which reportedly cost over $100 million to build over the course of several years starting in 2016, held an opening this week attended by luminaries including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, film and TV star Oprah Winfrey, and renowned illusionist David Copperfield, who once appeared to make the Statue of Liberty disappear in the '80s.
When users open the free AR app, they immediately have access to an interactive history of the monument, an immersive audio tour, and panoramic views of the statue that give you a bird's eye view of its detail. Users can also place a human-sized version of the statue in their own home.
As an educational tool, this is one of the most polished and multidimensional AR apps we've seen, with in-depth historical information about the statue's development and role in the city throughout the years (be sure to play with the time travel features), and a podcast delving into the importance of the monument.
But more importantly, the app serves as another example of how AR can be harnessed to erase borders and open up the world in much the same way as "Lady Liberty" has for millions of newcomers to America for many years.