- Second Life:
Because it involves a Stephenson-esque reality where anything can happen, Second Life proved an incredibly valuable tool for educators hoping to reach a broad audience — or offering even more ways to learn for their own bands of students. Listing the numerous ways in which they utilized the virtual world means an entire article on its own, but a quick search will dredge up the online classes, demonstrations, discussions, lectures, presentations, debates, and other educational benefits.
- Augmented Reality Development Lab:
Affiliated with such itty-bitty, insignificant companies as Google, Microsoft, and Logitech, the Augmented Reality Development Lab run by Digital Tech Frontier seeks to draw up projects that entertain as well as educate. The very core goal of the ARDL — which classrooms can purchase in kits at various price levels — involves creating interactive, three-dimensional objects for studying purposes.
- Reliving the Revolution:
Karen Schrier harnessed GPS and Pocket PCs to bring the Battle of Lexington to her students through the Reliving the Revolution game, an AR experiment exploring some of the mysteries still shrouding the event — like who shot first! Players assume different historical roles and walk through everything on a real-life map of the Massachusetts city.
One of the many, many engines behind PC games received a second life as an engaging strategy for illustrating the intricate ins and outs of physics, in a project known as PhysicsPlayground. It offers up an immersive, three-dimensional environment for experimenting, offering up a safer, more diverse space to better understand how the universe drives itself.
- MITAR Games:
Developed by MIT’s Teacher Education Program and The Education Arcade, MITAR Games blend real-life locations with virtual individuals and scenarios for an educational experience that research proves entirely valid. Environmental Detectives, its first offering, sends users off on a mystery to discover the source of a devastating toxic spill.
- New Horizon:
Some Japanese students and adults learning and reviewing English lessons enjoy the first generation of augmented reality textbooks, courtesy of publisher Tokyo Shoseki, for the New Horizon class. As a smartphone app, it takes advantage of built-in cameras to present animated character conversations when aligned with certain sections of pages.
- Occupational Safety Scaffolding:
Professor Ron Dotson’s Construction Safety students receive a thorough education in establishing safe scaffolding space through three-dimensional demonstrations incorporating the real and the digital alike. A simple application of AR, to be certain, but one undoubtedly possessing the potential to save lives and limbs alike.
- FETCH! Lunch Rush:
Education-conscious parents who want L’il Muffin and Junior to learn outside the classroom might want to consider downloading PBS Kids’ intriguing iPhone and iPod Touch app. Keep them entertained in the car or on the couch with a fun little game for ages six through eight meant to help them build basic math skills visually.
- Field trips:Augmented reality museums guide students and self-learners of all ages through interactive digital media centered around a specific theme — maybe even challenge them to play games along the way. HistoriQuest, for example, started life as the Civil War Augmented Reality Project and presented a heady blend of mystery gaming and very real stories.
- School in the Park Augmented Reality Experience:
Third graders participating in the 12-year-old School in the Park program engage with AR via smartphones as they explore Balboa Park, the San Diego History Center, and the world-class San Diego Zoo. Not only do they receive exposure to numerous educational digital media resources, teachers also train them in creating their very own
augmented reality experiences!
- QR Code scavenger hunts:
Smartphones equipped with a QR code reader make for optimal tools when sending students on scavenger hunts across the classroom or school. The Daring Librarian, Gwyneth Anne Bronwynn, sends kids on an augmented reality, animated voyage through the library to figure out where to find everything and whom to ask for assistance.
Mentira takes place in Albuquerque and fuses fact and fiction, fantasy characters and real people, for the world’s first AR Spanish language learning game. It intentionally mimics the structure of a historical murder mystery novel and allows for far deeper, more effective engagement with native speakers than many classroom lessons.
- Driver’s ed:Toyota teamed up with Saatchi & Saatchi to deliver the world’s cleanest and safest test-drive via augmented reality. While the method has yet to catch on in the majority of driver’s education classes, it definitely makes for an impressive, effective alternative to keeping and maintaining a fleet of cars.
Classrooms with smartphone access blend Google Earth and web albums such as Picasa or Instagram for a firsthand experience in geotagging and receiving a visual education about the world around them. More collaborative classrooms — like those hked together with Skype or another VOIP client – could use this as a way to nurture cross-cultural, geopolitical understanding.
- Dow Day:
Jim Mathews’ augmented reality documentary and smartphone app brought University of Madison-Wisconsin students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the year 1967. As they traveled campus, participants’ smartphones called up actual footage of Vietnam War protests corresponding with their current locations.
Using a webcam and printed target, young kids in need of some science (although, really, everyone is in need of some science) interact with the cute critter SciMorph, who teaches them about gravity, sound, and microbial structures. Each lesson involves exploring a specific zone within the game and opens users up to questions, quizzes, and talks.
- Imaginary Worlds:
With PSPs in hand, Mansel Primary School students embarked on an artistic voyage, where downloaded images and QR codes merge and provide challenges to draw up personalized environments. The journey also pits them against monsters and requires a final write-up about how the immersive experience left an educational impact.
- Sky Map and Star Walk:
Available on Android and iWhatever devices, these deceptively simple applications pack a megaton punch of education via an innovative augmented reality approach. Both involve pointing the gadget to the sky and seeing the names of the currently visible stars, planets, and constellations pop up, along with additional astronomical information.
- Handheld Augmented Reality Project:
Harvard, MIT, and University of Wisconsin at Madison teamed up with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and nurtured science and math skills to junior high kids using GPS navigators and Dell Axims. Moving through the school meant moving through a synched virtual environment, with each area presenting new challenges they must tackle before pressing forward.
- Project Glass:
One of the most ambitious augmented reality initiatives comes straight from Google, who believes its Project Glass holds potential far beyond the classroom. Notoriously, it requires a pair of glasses versus the usual smartphones and laptops, and current experiments involve placing users in first-person extreme athletic experiences, snapping photos, and more.
The new Google FieldTrip app probes the question: What digital information do you want to see overlaid on the physical world?
It is The Future. You wake up at dawn and fumble on the bed stand for your (Google) Glass. Peering out at the world through transparent screens, what do you see?
If you pick up a book, do you see a biography of its author, an analysis of the chemical composition of its paper, or the share price for its publisher? Do you see a list of your friends who’ve read it or a selection of its best passages or a map of its locations or its resale price or nothing? The problem for Google’s brains, as it is for all brains, is choosing where to focus attention and computational power. As a Google-structured augmented reality comes closer to becoming a product-service combination you can buy, the particulars of how it will actually merge the offline and online are starting to matter.
To me, the hardware (transparent screens, cameras, batteries, etc) and software (machine vision, language recognition) are starting to look like the difficult but predictable parts. The wildcard is going to be the content. No one publishes a city, they publish a magazine or a book or a news site. If we’ve thought about our readers reading, we’ve imagined them at the breakfast table or curled up on the couch (always curled up! always on the couch!) or in office cubicles running out the clock. No one knows how to create words and pictures that are meant to be consumed out there in the world.
This is not a small problem.
But consider the cramped view of augmented reality you will see here. What information is actually overlaid on the world?
- The weather
- The time
- An appointment
- A text message
- Interior directions (within a bookstore? Right.)
- A location check on a friend
- A check in
You can see why Google would put this particular vision out there. It’s basically all the stuff they’ve already done repackaged into this new UI. Sure, there’s a believable(ish) voice interface and a cute narrative and all that. But of all the information that could possibly be seamlessly transmitted to you from/about your environment, that’s all we get?
I’m willing to bet that people are going to demand a lot more from their augmented reality systems, and Hanke’s team is a sign that Google might think so, too. His internal startup at Google is called Niantic Labs, and if you get that reference, you are a very particular kind of San Francisco nerd. The Niantic was a ship that came to California in 1849, got converted into a store, burned in a fire, and was buried in the city. Over the next hundred and twenty-five years, the ship kept getting rediscovered as buildings were built and rebuilt at its burial site. Artifacts from the ship now sit in museums, but a piece of the bow remains under a parking lot near the intersection of Clay and Sansome in downtown San Francisco.
Now, not everyone is going to want to know the story of the Niantic, at least not as many people as who want to know about the weather. And the number of people who care about a story like that — or one about a new restaurant — will be strongly influenced by the telling. The content determines how engaging Field Trip is. But content is a game that Google, very explicitly, does not like to play. Not even when the future prospects of its augmented reality business may be at stake.
The truth is, most of the alerts that Field Trip sent me weren’t right for the moment. I’d get a Thrillist story that felt way too boostery outside its email-list context. Or I’d get a historical marker from an Arcadia Publishing book that would have been interesting, but wasn’t designed to be consumed on my phone. They often felt stilted, or not nearly as interesting as you’d expect (especially for a history nerd like me). You can handtune the sorts of publications that you receive, but of the updates I got, only Atlas Obscura (and Curbed and Eater to a lesser extent) seemed designed for this kind of consumption. No one else seemed to want to explain what might be interesting about a given block to someone walking through it; that’s just not anyone’s business. And yet stuff that you read on a computer screen at home has got to be different from stuff that you read in situ.
What happens when the main distribution medium for your work is that it’s pushed to people as they stumble through the Mission or around Carroll Gardens? What possibilities does that open up? What others does it foreclose?
“Most of the people that are publishing now into Field Trip are publishing it as a secondary feed,” Hanke told me. “But some folks like Atlas Obscura. They are not a daily site that you go to. They are information on a map. They are an ideal publishing partner.”
They are information on a map. That’s not how most people think of their publications. What a terrifying vision for those who grew up with various media bundles or as web writers. But it’s thrilling, too. You could build a publication with a heatmap of a city, working out from the most heavily traveled blocks to the ones where people rarely stroll.
Imagine you’ve got a real-time, spatial distribution platform. Imagine everyone reading about the place you’re writing about is standing right in front of it. All that talk about search engine and social optimization? We’re talking geo-optimization, each story banking on the shared experience of bodies co-located in space.
Many smaller vendors are using AR in ways that will blow your mind. Although the apps and ideas have yet to garner the attention directed at Google Glasses, they are definitely worth checking out. Here are some examples of how augmented reality is being used and developed for mobile apps today, and how the technology is advancing at an astonishing rate.
AR’s mobile invasion
Real player: Gaming apps with amazing AR functions
Using AR apps for educational purposes
AR as a tool for navigation
Mobile AR browsers take AR to the streets
AR apps and media interaction
AR on the bigger screen
Mind-reading headsets integrated with AR
Here, industry experts sound off on the five common augmented reality mistakes.
Nothing is more important than educating consumers about new technologies. To this day, there are still consumers out there that do not know what a QR code is or how to use it.Same goes for augmented reality. Education is key and essential in executing a proper AR experience.
“I’ve seen this for years – marketers or brands put time and effort into a great augmented reality experience, app or campaign and then barely communicate it,” said Trak Lord, a spokesman for metaio. “Augmented reality is an amazing technology, but it’s not a household name.
“Agencies and brands need to better educate users on how to access and use the AR,”. “This goes for promotion as well – I often see an AR app as an aspect of an integrated marketing campaign, yet without any kind of sufficient promotion.”
Realistic and entertaining content is the best way to draw people in to an augmented reality experience. Augmented reality is all about the experience – that is why the technology is becoming a huge hit among brands.
When creating a campaign, marketers must make sure that their content is engaging and really takes that user experience to another level. “Even a ‘light’ experience – let’s say just overlaying something onto a single print ad – can make jaws drop”.
“Brands need to go for a single lens platform app where a cumulative audience is being built which the brands can access – and where, as a consumer, multiple real-world brands, magazines, signage and logos can be ‘unlocked’ via a single lens.”
Marketers should not use augmented reality for the sake of using augmented reality.
“While the triggered AR experience can have an initial wow experience – 3D animation or photo that seems to jump to life – for however many seconds, it is the subsequent features and content value that is key to long term consumer adoption.
Similar to QR codes, augmented reality needs to have a purpose.Consumers need to make sure their campaign features engaging content to help drive word-of-mouth and user engagement. “This tech will remain a gimmick and novelty if used for gimmick and novelty effects,”.Companies should invest in the content delivered.
“Go beyond simple animation.”
Cameras. They’re everywhere and in everything, usually as a person on the street we connect cameras with the idea that someone is watching us—but in our hands, they have a secondary purpose: they allow us to record and translate our own experience through a device. That’s a long way of saying, “My smartphone can use its camera to give me more information about what I can see—and at the same time share my experience.”
Virtual Reality was a rage once. It had a good run, especially during the 1990s, and perhaps culminating with Second Life in the decade which just closed. But virtual reality is old in the tooth. People are a lot more interested these days in “augmented reality,” or at least they are on Google where it surpassed “virtual reality” as a search term in last few years or so.
Virtual reality involves the creation of a computer-generated world that a person can interact with in such a way that he or she believes that the virtual world is real. Augmented reality, however, is a meeting of virtual reality and real life, as a computer image melds with real-life images to create a composite for the user to interact with. If virtual reality is a complete immersion in a digital world, augmented reality(AR) is more a digital overlay onto the world. It enhances the real world with digital data, and therefore it is much more interesting than a completely fabricated environment. AR has an element of magic attached to it.
AR has recently been highlighted in various marketing campaigns as a cool way to show products via PC or mobile phone, such as in the concert launch by BBC. But AR is much more than just a gimmick, and has the potential to change product and brand communications in remarkable ways:
- Virtual Fitting Room:
Check out topshops virtual fitting room
- Connect with social networks:
An incredible augmented ID system from TATs to enhance your social and business networks.
- Create virtual maps/ marketing information via phones:
Check out world’s first augmented reality browser from Layar
- Nokia City Lens:
Check out your city.
- Augmented Reality window shopping:
- Google’s AR game:
- Sphero’s Augmented Reality App.
Walk a Beaver in your house.