On March 18, 1990, thieves broke into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, tied up the security guards, cut 13 works of art out of their frames, and disappeared into the night. The paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas, and Manet are valued at $500 million, making the art heist the largest in world history.
The crime remains unsolved. While amateur sleuths and armchair detectives continue to follow leads in hopes of collecting a $10 million reward, one tech company has decided to return the lost paintings with a different approach.
Hacking the Heist is a new app that uses augmented reality to remind viewers of what was lost in the still-unsolved robbery. In short, the app puts the stolen art back into their empty frames, which are still hanging on the museum’s walls all these years later. The app uses AR built with Apple’s ARKit. It’s a clever use of technology as both an educational tool and a useful reminder that digital reproductions of Vermeer are just a humble facsimile for the real thing.
Check out the app in action here: