We pre-recorded today’s conversation at the McCormick Civil War Institute on the campus of Shenandoah University to chat with Director, Jonathan Noyalas and Immersive Technology Developer, Wes Brown about their new app – Through Their Eyes – that uses augmented reality to bring civil war history alive at Cool Spring Battlefield.

The pair gave me an overview from inception to final product about the app, plus talked about additional content & features they’re hoping to add in future updates.

The app recreates scenes from the 1864 Battle of Cool Spring is now available for download. Through Their Eyes is a collaboration between Shenandoah’s McCormick Civil War Institute and the Shenandoah Center for Immersive Learning, or SCiL.

The app has two components: a 360 augmented reality component and an audio augmented reality experience. The 360 augmented reality experience can be done anywhere. Those who download the app can scan any flat surface and a map appears showing the contours of the Cool Spring Battlefield, which is located in Clarke County off Va. 7. Users can tap on any one of a dozen flags marking a designation on the map where a particular regiment fought. They are then instantly transported into a moment in the battle that is recreated by volunteers, students and living historians.

The second part of the app is an immersive audio tour in which participants can walk the battlefield and hear an audio account of particular soldiers and their experiences while also learning what happened to that soldier, either at Cool Spring or in the conflict’s aftermath. The app uses GPS satellite data to determine where the participant is on the battlefield and syncs this with specific soldiers’ accounts.

For more information about the McCormick Civil War Institute, visit their website: https://www.su.edu/mcwi/