Augmented Reality Storytelling

Silicon Harlem releases augmented reality story “I Can’t Breath: The Eric Garner Arrest”

Cellphone videos of police arrests have fueled the protests surrounding police shootings in the United States and helped launch the Black Lives Matter movement. Now, Silicon Harlem is using the video of Eric Garner’s July 17, 2014 arrest to create an augmented reality (AR) retelling of the events leading to his death by a chokehold.

The project is a partnership with Empathetic Media, a startup producing real event-based stories in virtual reality, augmented reality and 360 video. The story, entitled “I Can’t Breath: The Eric Garner Arrest,” will be hosted on Empathetic Media’s free app, ARc Stories, the first augmented reality sequential storytelling app. Using a trigger of Silicon Harlem’s logo, anyone with a smartphone or tablet can view audio, maps and text that provide context to human models of Garner and the police, which are based on the video of the incident recorded by Ramsey Orta. 

As part of its goal to turn Harlem into a hub for technological innovation, Silicon Harlem is also working with Empathetic Media to teach the next generation of storytellers through the CCCADI Apps Youth Leadership Academy.

This summer, a group of high school students will create their own augmented reality stories, which will be hosted on ARc Stories. Since 2014, the seven-week long Academy has provided a place for students to learn how to code and build apps and websites as well as how to pitch an idea and work in teams to solve problems. Silicon Harlem has also worked in the borough to create a next gen comprehensive tech and media conference, build gigabit infrastructure, raise investment capital and galvanize the community with meet-ups.

The company sees its projects as ways to decrease crime through lowering unemployment rates and increasing educational opportunities. To download “I Can’t Breath: The Eric Garner Arrest”

  • Download the ARc Stories app to your smartphone from the App Store or Google Play, preferably over WiFi
  • Allow the app to access your smartphone’s camera
  • Click on “I Can’t Breathe: The Eric Garner Arrest” from the story list
  • Point the crosshair on your phone at the large Silicon Harlem logo below and click your way through the story: