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Dan Iaboni

Dan Iaboni

Ph.D - Chief Experience Officer

App Review: The White House’s 1600

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 a 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.

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.

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

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.

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

Dan Iaboni

Dan Iaboni

Ph.D - Chief Experience Officer

Dan firmly believes that technology must be created with the user in mind. Never shy to critique a bad design, Dan uses the Akendi blog to shine a spotlight on usability mistakes…and their solutions. Leveraging his background in engineering, computer science, psychology, and anthropology, Dan offers a unique perspective on the latest UX trends and techniques.


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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About Akendi

Akendi is a human experience design firm, leveraging equal parts experience research and creative design excellence. We provide strategic insights and analysis about customer and user behaviour and combine this knowledge with inspired design. The results enable organizations to improve effectiveness, engage users and provide remarkable customer experiences to their audiences.