After you open the app, you'll have to find one of six badges painted on the ground around the sculpture and line them up with a digital version using your phone's camera. Once the calibration is done, you can watch the ship come together from where you're standing. The whole thing is visually striking -- the juxtaposition of the wooden structure against the madness of modern monstrosities that is Times Square is beautifully complex in both virtual and real worlds. You can save pieces of this art by recording it with the app or taking screenshots, which is the benefit of using your phone.
Meanwhile, you'll have to wait in line for the HoloLens experience, which is only there for a limited time. During my demo, I had to wait a few minutes for Microsoft's reps to set up the system, and the whole thing crashed about a minute in because the headset overheated. For many members of the general public, this will be their first experience with HoloLens, and Times Square in the middle of summer isn't the best setting for it. Plus, I could barely hear the underwater sound effects even with the noise-cancelling headphones Microsoft provided, and was taken out of the experience whenever an ambulance or fire engine blared by.
The best time to check out Unmoored (if there ever is a good time to stand around Times Square for an extended period) is in the late afternoon, when the sun's relentless rays are blocked by buildings on the west. Tourists will have a fun time taking in the spectacle and marveling at the tech -- a combination that is undeniably New York. Those seeking a deeper meaning may be better off waiting for Unmoored to move to a quieter location. Otherwise, the artist's message may get drowned out by the surrounding chaos.
In this article: art, AugmentedReality, av, entertainment, hololens, microsoft, MixedReality,unmoored
By Cherlynn Low@cherlynnlow
Cherlynn is reviews editor of Engadget. She grew up in Singapore and came to New York in 2012. After earning her master's in journalism from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, she fell in like with tech at her first job, covering smartphones and wearables for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide. Nowadays, she spends too much time coming up with ideas for podcasts, IGTV shows and creative out-of-office messages. She also tweets excessively and thinks there aren't enough selfies and crop tops in the world.