Best AR Winter Olympics experiences
Immerse yourself in the Olympics, thanks to your phone.
Like every version of the Olympics, there are exciting new attempts to bring new concepts into storytelling at the Pyeongchang Winter Games. With 4K streaming video and every moment being captured and shared with the world thanks to our televisions, the storytelling methods coming from our phones are the focus on new life this time around. And in several cases, the vehicle for that storytelling is augmented reality. Thanks to ARKit, we have a couple of apps on the iPhone ready to immerse you in the Olympics in new and admittedly quirky ways.
Here are the best options you can try out right now!
The New York Times
While most of the Olympics-related stories you'll find in the NYT app are about current controversies and victories, there's a unique break down of the mind-blowing physics that goes into being an athlete in some of these sports that can only be enjoyed in AR. The article breaks down physical examples with full-body visuals from figure skater Nathan Chen, speedskater J. R. Celski, hockey goalie Alex Rigsby, and snowboarder Anna Gasser all doing what they do best.
ARKit allows you to place life-sized recreations of these people in front of you, so you can walk around them and observe every angle of their impressive feats. The app invites you to look closely at the protective gear Celski uses to keep his fingers safe as he glides around a corner at seemingly impossible angles, or the width Rigsby opens her glove when catching a puck. as you scroll through the article you can see each person to interact with, and the article itself helps break down a lot of fascinating information about what each of these amazing people are capable of.
You do need a fair amount of open space for this AR app to do its thing well, but if you're eager to learn more about these athletes it is worth taking the time to do it this way.
One of the biggest themes in the Winter Games is speed. Being able to hurl your body from beginning to end thanks to skis, blades, or a board is a big part of the event list. No one wants an accident to occur, but through many of these events it feels like you're holding your breath in anticipation of some catastrophic failure due to how ridiculously fast some of these people are travelling.
The Washington Post AR experience for these Winter Games looks almost like a video game, aimed at offering a little context into just how fast some of these people are travelling. Instead of watching an AR representation of an actual Olympic event, this demonstration shows you how on a straight track how fast these people are travelling relative to the other events. It's presented like a quiz — does a speedskater travel faster than a luger? The app shows you a fantasy race between the two after you guess, and then breaks down how fast each is travelling on average.
It's a brief, but fun, way to demonstrate just how much speed is involved in these games. This experience does a great job offering a little education to help get you excited about watching more of these events, and since you're already on the app you don't have to go far to check out the rest.