United Nations uses iBeacons to simulate a minefield & raise awareness at NY museum


We’ve been seeing more and more interesting implementations of iBeacons, Apple’s Bluetooth LE standard that opens up a ton of opportunities for location-based experiences as iOS devices communicate with the beacons around them. This, however, might be the most unique use of iBeacons we’ve seen yet:  For the UN’s International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action taking place on April 4, New Museum in New York City will host an exhibit that uses iBeacons to simulate a virtual minefield and let anyone experience the danger of land mines.

Visitors will download an app called Sweeper for iOS or Android that will allow them to experience the fear of land mines as they walk through the space. Here’s how it works:

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The Sweeper exhibit is a live experience of a virtual minefield. When used at a UN event, Sweeper (www.getsweeper.com) is the app that allows anyone to experience the fear of living with land mines (App is going live on April 3). Using iBeacon, a low energy Bluetooth technology to find a phone’s location, the Sweeper app detects transmitters hidden throughout the exhibit. When a person comes too close to a transmitter, it acts as a landmine and detonates, filling the user’s headphones with a jarring, visceral explosion followed by an audio testimony of someone’s actual experience. Users are then invited to make a small donation of $5 to help ensure no one ever has to go through what they just did.

Retail and event venues have been using iBeacon technology to beam location-based notifications and offers as well as speed up check-in procedures by automatically recognizing the user’s device. We’ve also seen apps that let users setup their own iBeacon experience, like the Placed app for context-aware app launching at home and BeHere, an app that automatically takes attendance as students enter the classroom.

The digital minefield exhibit is opening to the public from 11am to 3pm on April 4th and is being hosted by the United Nations Mine Action Service, Critical Mass, and photographer Marco Grob. United Nations will also be taking $5 donations for the cause.

A mock up of what the exhibit will look like is below:

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  1. iMacheads - 9 years ago

    Reblogged this on iMacheads.

  2. scumbolt2014 - 9 years ago

    Sounds like a blast.

  3. This is really cool. I love how there are so many creative uses of iBeacon today, especially in education. Using technology to bring awareness to the public on global situations is truly amazing. It’s all about delivering an experience and iBeacon does just that. You can find out more about delivering magical experiences at http://passkit.com/ibeacon-devices/.

  4. Great post Jordan. As mentioned, this has truly been one of the unique use case of beacon technology we have come across till date. This technology is bound to take museum experience to a whole new level. Some of the use cases would be self guided tours, gamification, social engagement, bookmarking exhibits in museums. You can get a detailed article on how beacons are transforming the future of museums at – http://bit.ly/1Kz1qKN


Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & Electrek.co. He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.