I think the key is for women not to set any limits.

—Martina Navratilova
Project Blog:
Mobile Black History Project
Imagine pointing your mobile phone at a Washington, D.C., landmark and reading about its relevance in African-American history. Layering data over real life is at the center of the emerging field of augmented reality, and this mobile phone application will bring black history to the forefront, starting with historic sites in Washington, D.C. Retha Hill, a recent Knight News Challenge winner and director of the New Media Innovation Lab at Arizona State University, will run the project.

Hitting the Reset Button

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

As almost every innovator has discovered at one point or another, it is the team that you assemble that can help you soar or trip you up. Months into my Black History Augmented Reality project, I have good and bad news.

The good news is the content for nine cities is available in Layar where users in Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C., can download the Layar browser and use the camera lens of their smartphones to find out about black history. I also have content for New York City and Ohio that I have to put into the database, and data from Detroit and Los Angeles are being collected now.

The bad news is the app designed specifically for the iPhone is not ready.

My developers finally admitted what was obvious for months: that they were unable to create an Augmented Reality native iPhone app. The developers tried to use a third party iPhone builder (despite my warnings against it) and then tried to integrate Layar Player into it. It just didn’t work.


Who's Blogging


Retha Hill is the Director of the New Media Innovation Lab and a Professor of Practice at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Hill joined the Cronkite faculty in the summer of 2007 after nearly eight years at BET.

Click for full bio.