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Planet Harlem Mural Gets Animated With Augmented Reality

A well-known mural in Harlem is undergoing an exciting transformation, bringing the history of the neighborhood to life in an interactive and engaging way. Planet Harlem, a mural located at the intersection of West 126th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard, has been a magnet for tourists and locals for over a decade, showcasing vibrant characters designed by artist Paul Deo.

Deo has recognized that many people have questions about the figures depicted in the mural and has found an innovative way to provide answers. By using a cell phone, iPad, or augmented reality goggles, visitors can scan a QR code on the mural and interact with legendary Harlem figures such as Josephine Baker, Adam Clayton Powell, and Zora Neale Hurston. In the future, Deo plans to incorporate actor voiceovers into his Harlem Anime animations, sharing the stories of these historical figures, and to integrate artificial intelligence for an immersive experience.

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In addition to his work on the Planet Harlem mural, Deo has been commissioned to create an augmented reality mural for Harlem Hospital, with the goal of expanding into an interactive walk down 125th Street. He also leads online AR classes, aiming to bring his new knowledge of technology back to the community and dispel any suspicions about new technologies.

Deo’s passion for art and community extends to teaching self-actualization through portraits, guiding grade school students to senior citizens in tapping into their creative sides. Participants have expressed how the classes have helped them break out of their shells and explore their artistic capabilities.

With the centennial anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance approaching, Deo aims to ignite a fresh wave of artistic energy in his beloved neighborhood. However, he is still in the process of fundraising to complete his ambitious projects.

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