The aim of a jury trial is to recreate a moment of history with sufficient detail to let a people decide what the truth is. But unless there's video footage of the event, it can often be difficult to visualize just what went on. It's a puzzle that documentarian and VR pioneer Nonny De la Peña is hoping to tackle with her new project, One Dark Night, a VR app that recreates a crime scene with as much official evidence as possible. Her first subject matter may be disturbing to many, however, as it concerns the controversial shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin.Described as "immersive journalism," the app takes you through the moments building up to Martin's killing by George Zimmerman. All of the information included in the app was sourced from witness testimony, 911 calls and architectural drawings of the scene to create as real a scenario as possible. The app's creators also hired forensic audio specialists that claim to be able to identify Zimmerman cocking his gun before he gave chase.
Sitting down with Mashable, De la Peña said that it is possible to build a VR recreation like this for a jury trial. Her company, Emblematic Group, used predominantly off-the-shelf digital components to cook up the scene and it only required the work of three people across two weeks. Although we imagine that it'll be a while before a sequel to One Dark Night becomes a vital part of the criminal process, there's certainly potential in the idea. If you want to take a look for yourself, the app is available from Google Play and is optimized for Samsung's Gear VR.