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Augmented reality app shows Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in a new way

The Gaming, Interactive Media, and Mobile program at Boise State University aims to supplement the memorials message in an interactive way.

BOISE, Idaho — The Boise State University Games, Interactive Media, and Mobile (GIMM) program is working on an augmented reality app to see the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in a whole new way.

The Anne Frank Memorial, located in the heart of Boise, is the only one of its kind in the United States. Among quotes etched in stone, tucked behind the statue of Anne Frank herself, a spiral column sits idle reading five acts: language, avoidance, discrimination, violence, elimination.

It's called the Spiral of Injustice - the centerpiece of the GIMM augmented reality project.

"We teach you about propaganda, things like that. Then avoidance, we teach you about how people don't really do anything, they're like, 'it doesn't affect me,'" Program Manager Alan Tucker said. "I'm really inspired by making technology that can change lives, help people understand different concepts, things like that."

Through an iPad, GIMM students demonstrated how their app displays a reality on screen that differs from the naked human eye. The halls and walls of the memorial are supplemented with propaganda posters, bystanders, and victims. Through the five stages, a user is guided to make sense of it all.

"We can take that technology and instead of creating wedges between people, push them together, make them understand that we're all neighbors," GIMM Director Anthony Ellertson said.

The Department of Homeland Security funded the project, according to Ellertson. The team garnered inspiration for the project after multiple instances of vandalism and defacement targeted the memorial, as KTVB has previously reported.

The project will be in 'full gear' next year, according to Ellertson. The team wants the app to connect younger audiences - specifically ages 13-25 - with the events of the Holocaust.

"I want people to come here. That's where I want, everyone needs to come to the memorial. I want people to come here, sit by the waterfall. Think about what it means. Think about technology and what it's doing to our communities," Tucker said. "But then realize what this community has, you know, it's not all digital. It's here. We have this beautiful place in Boise. You can be here, and you can live it, and it just it's one of the most beautiful things."

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