Ovechkin, Pontius, Wall to be Featured as Augmented Reality Statues

The Ballston Business Improvement District will unveil the statues next month at the annual Taste of Arlington.

Want to have your picture taken with Washington Capitals team captain Alex Ovechkin, Washington Wizards point guard John Wall or D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius?

The Ballston Business Improvement District, or BID, wants to make that a reality — an augmented reality, actually.

The BID will unveil a series of augmented reality statues at this year's Taste of Arlington, which will be from noon to 5 p.m. on May 19.

The "statues" are actually 15-second video loops of Ovechkin, Wall or Pontius in different poses that can be accessed by downloading the BID's app and targeting one of the augmented reality markers. The markers are similar to quick response or QR codes that smartphones and tablets are able to scan.

So if you stand next to the marker, a friend or passerby can snap a photo of you giving Ovechkin a high five, for example.

Ovechkin, who lived in Ballston for seven years before moving to Tysons Corner, said Wednesday after filming his spot that he was "happy to do it" for the BID.

"It's pretty cool," he said.

Ovechkin was admittedly tired, coming to the shoot immediately following Wednesday's practice and after helping the Capitals clench the Southeast Division title Tuesday night.

"It's been a tough year," he said. "When you fight through it, it's always nice to be appreciated."

Ovechkin said he liked the restaurants and other amenities around Ballston. When friends are in town, he said he likes to take them to play at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

Ovechkin said he's posed for a statue before, but never a digital one.

BID Chief Executive Tina Leone said Ballston was the first place to use this kind of technology.

“All of the facets of Ballston’s dynamic personality shine with this creative venture,” she said earlier in a statement. “It’s high-tech, brainy, artistic, sporty, athletic, mobile, and most of all — fun.”

After the unveiling at Taste of Arlington, the augmented reality markers will be placed in "semi-permanent" spots around Ballston — places that are well-traveled, with a sign of some sort to alert people to the presence of the interactive piece of art, Leone told Patch.

Future statues will feature Ted Leonsis, a renowned investor and owner of the Capitals, and other area business, technology, historic and athletic leaders.

A statue could be installed at Welburn Square, for instance, that could feature Leone or someone else explaining the history of the square and going over the upcoming events for that area.

This year's Taste of Arlington should draw between 15,000 and 20,000 people, Leone said. It will showcase 40 restaurants, and the layout has been tweaked so that getting around should be easier and lines should be shorter, she said.


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