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New app takes you back in time to Kent State shooting, which took place 50 years ago next week

You can experience the day through augmented reality.

KENT, Ohio — Remember the game "Pokémon Go?" Players held up phones to catch virtual characters that the naked eye could not otherwise see.

The same concept is now allowing people at Kent State University to process the tragic shooting that took place 50 years ago in a whole new way. Professor Rick Ferdig helped develop a new "May 4th Augmented Reality Experience App," and you can download it to your mobile phone or engage online at may4thxr.kent.edu.

"You’re essentially traveling back 50 years and living that history that happened on May 4, 1970," Dr. Ferdig said.

Online or in-person, users simply visit one of seven campus hot spots—and click. An audio tour enhances it.

"You can actually see a digital overlay on top of your real-world experience," Ferdig said.

The app was made possible through a $175,000 grand from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Ferdig believes it could be key to the future of online learning.

For now, however, school officials are urging people to try it from home, as the campus remains closed due to the coronavirus. Roads will be closed leading up to Monday’s May 4 virtual commemoration ceremony.

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