Eisenhower Park Goes High-Tech; App to Enhance Experience at Planned Memorial

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Byline: Meredith Somers, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Designers behind the Eisenhower Memorial are using cutting-edge technology to help tell the story of a man known for keeping an eye on the future.

The $100 million memorial to honor the U.S. president and World War II commander is the first 21st centurynational presidential memorial to include an augmented reality application, officials said Thursday. The application will let visitors use their smartphones to experience the memorial as more than just a static exhibit.

Unlike virtual reality, which creates a fake digital environment around a real object, augmented reality uses a device such as a smartphone to apply an image to real life - such as various hairstyles on a photograph of a person's head, or geographical information projected onto a view of the street.

The idea there, the aspiration, is we can engage a whole new generation that doesn't know about this character in history that's compelling and engaging, and that fulfills some of the storytelling and interpretation that the memorial is not designed to fulfill, said Jake Barton, principal of Local Projects, the media design firm behind the e-memorial. For a president and leader who invested so heavily in science and expression ... it's particularly fitting.

Eisenhower graduated from West Point and served in World War I before becoming the commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces during World War II. He was elected president of the United States and was in office from 1953 to 1961.

During his administration, Eisenhower was credited with creating the Interstate Highway System and signing the act that created NASA. This memorial is the seventh national memorial to honor the 34th president. It was approved in 1999 by President Clinton, and despite some conflict about portions of its design, the memorial is set for completion by Memorial Day 2015.

A request for comment from the memorial commission was not returned.

Mr. Barton said the interactive experience will come through an app - software downloaded to a mobile phone - that will be ready for the first visitors. …