AR Archaelogy

AR Archaeology

A+E Networks & NYC Media Lab Multiuser AR Challenge
role: Interaction Designer

software: ARKit 2, Xcode, Blender
hardware: iOS


AR Archaeology is a cooperative multiuser AR experience based on the show American Pickers on the History Channel.

Players can peek into the past and see what it’s like to play the roles of Mike and Frank to “pick” virtual antiques and uncover a slice of history.

Each player sees the same antique, but in different eras with unique audio components emanating from, including voice over clips from the show and sound effects. Together, they can drag items through space to the virtual van until their budget runs out.

Collaborators: Chian Huang (UX Design) & Xiao Ma (Developer)




  • Demonstrate compelling interaction in a shared AR space using multi-user features.


  • How do we extend existing narratives and content into AR?

  • Can AR help shape our approach to our material surroundings and lifestyles in an educational way?


  • Choosing an IP:

    We began our 10-week challenge with an idea to create an AR experience based on the A+E Show “Hoarders”. After a few initial experiments, we concluded that in order to be respectful to those who suffer from hoarding disorders, the experience should not be gamified in any way and would likely be more suited towards a single-person experience.

    We landed on the “American Pickers” IP, as the show is aligned thematically with our initial core goals of creating an educational app that recontextualizes our material objects and possessions.


  • Launching the Experience:

    To begin the experience, the user will be asked to either host or join the game.

  • Onboarding:

    Both users receive a text message from Danielle to welcome them. Danielle is a character in the show who works at the antique shop as a sort of dispatcher, sending Mike and Frank on their missions. This prepares the users for what they will be doing and what the steps will be. 

  • Start:

    The experience begins after closing the text message. Virtual antiques appear and surround them, as well as a white van to load their antiques into.

  • Examining Antiques:

    While examining the antiques, each user sees different forms of the same antiques - either it’s present worn down texture, or its original pristine state. As they approach the antiques, they also trigger different archival photographs to appear relating to the item’s past, as well as different audio components. Here’s an example of this interaction.