UN uses Apple's iBeacons to create 'virtual minefield' in new awareness exhibit

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Visitors to New York's New Museum of Contemporary Art on Friday will be able to get some idea of what it is like to walk through a minefield thanks to a new iBeacon-powered installation sponsored by the United Nations Mine Action Service.

Museum-goers who download the accompanying "sweeper" app to their iOS or Android device will be asked to don headphones and try to make their way through the exhibit without setting off the virtual mines, represented by iBeacons. Those who are unable to make it through unscathed will hear a "jarring, visceral explosion" as well as a short audio clip from someone who has been personally affected by land mines.

The exhibit is timed to coincide with the United Nations' International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. Other events including photo exhibitions in Ethiopia, Mali, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Geneva and New York will take place concurrently as the international body hopes to draw attention to an issue that affects millions of people around the world.

During the exhibit's run at the New Museum of Contemporary Art from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 4, visitors will be asked for a $5 donation for each virtual mine that they set off. The exhibit is hosted by UNMAS, digital agency Critical Mass, and renowned Swiss photographer Marco Grob.


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