NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Thousands of people are using their smartphones to experience the devastation of urban conflict through an augmented reality app which aims to raise awareness of the suffering faced by millions trapped by war, the app’s developer said on Monday.
Launched by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in March, “Enter the room” provides a visceral, first-person experience of war through the eyes of child from their bedroom.
While there are numerous apps being designed by aid groups, this is the first known use of augmented reality (AR) by the humanitarian sector to simulate civilian life at war. The app has been downloaded more than 50,000 times since its launch.
“It (AR) makes war real in a powerful and new way and pushes the audience to really think about this question: What if this happened to your childhood bedroom, or your son or daughter’s?” said the ICRC’s Digital Content Manager Ariel Rubin.
“We spend our lives on our smartphones, walking around with our eyes glued to them. There is something incredibly moving about mapping this virtual reality onto our actual reality – and within that creating a narrative that tells a real story.”
Around 65 million people are fleeing conflict in countries like Syria and Yemen today – 75 percent of whom live in cities, where battles are increasingly taking place, says the ICRC.
Article courtesy of Reuters