Review of The White House’s 1600 App

Review of The White House’s 1600 App


Want to have a little fun with a demo of augmented reality? Then you might want to search around for a US dollar bill and try out the 1600 app.

In the final months of the Obama administration, the White House released an app called “1600”. By pointing your camera at an US $1 bill, a 3d model of the White House, aka 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, will appear and play a sequence of events that occur over the year. Although I’ve included screenshots below, the app is better experienced by trying it out yourself (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: View of the Whitehouse using the 1600 app

What I loved about this app is that it is a very clear example of augmented reality, particularly when you compared it to the “AR experience” of Pokemon Go. This app satisfies the 3 criteria of an augmented experience:

First, the virtual object appears as if it belongs in the environment. The White House appears as a 3d model, not a 2d image.

Second, the model is aligned with the world, which in this case, is the $1 bill. I can walk around and see the back of the White House, or if I get closer, the model fills up more of my field of view, rather than remaining fixed from a single perspective (see Figure 2).

Finally, the user can interact with the model in real time by manipulating the $1 bill.

Figure 2: Zooming in on the action

While the interactions are not as rich as they could be, this app is a quick demo of what real AR can be like. If the current White House administration is committed to showcasing technology, I would encourage them to continue to enhance the 1600 app to support more interactivity, such as having the model of the Whitehouse respond if I touched it, to create a richer storytelling experience.

To see this app in action, watch the official youtube video. Leave your own review in the comments below.


Daniel Iaboni, is a Principal Experience Architect at Akendi, a firm dedicated to creating intentional experiences through end-to-end experience design. To learn more about Akendi or user experience design, visit

Image credits: engdaget (main image), (body images)

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One Response to Review of The White House’s 1600 App

  1. Wow, that’s simply amazing. I wish we had this app in Germany showing the “Brandenburger Tor” or another famous building while scanning the 5€ bill. Welcome to the future, love it!

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