Ten interesting and helpful-for-my-resource things about ‘Augmented reality’ I didn’t know before; Research and development

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1. AR, in its simplest form is a way in which the real world and the virtual world can be merged together. It works by overlapping digital data on-to real life analogue views.

My resource will merge the digital data of the pre-filmed scenario with the live analogue view of the student.

2. There are generally two approaches to AR, marker-based and location-based.

Markers work by having software recognise a particular pattern, such as a bar code or symbol, when a camera is pointed at it, it overlays a digital image at that point on the screen. If the image is 3D or animated, the effect is of a digital experience unfolding on the surface upon which the pattern is printed.

Location-based applications use the ability of a particular device to record its position in the world and then offer data that’s relevant to that location: finding your way around a city, remembering where you parked the car, naming the mountains around you or the stars in the sky.

My resource will use Marker technology. Rather than a pattern, the student will be overlaid over the pre-filmed scenario.

3. Currently most existing augmented reality applications rely on superimposing either 3D-generated computer imagery or some form of descriptive knowledge over the real-time images obtained through a camera, webcam or phone. This requires a good understanding of image processing and computer vision techniques, mainly for tracking either markers or the natural features on which this imagery is superimposed.

Computer-generated imagery has to look realistic and be properly aligned with the real environment in order to create an authentic impression. Most of the applications are designed for the general public so a good understanding of intuitive user interfaces is also required to provide a seamless experience.

Through my interview with a primary school teacher I found that using actors rather than animation was favoured as  a more real-life approach.  As the ‘scene’ and the student will both be real life but the student live and the scene pre-existing it will be important to overlap the two together realistically if it is to have a real-life effect.

4. AR developers chiefly need a mixture of advanced computer vision skills, 3D modelling and desktop, web or mobile programming. A grasp of 3D modelling should include texturing, shading and rendering.

Preferred programming languages can vary according to the platform but are usually C++ and C#.

Although I will not be programming the software myself, knowledge of the job requirements and the software needed will allow me to begin budgeting the money that this will require.

5.  The Dutch-based company Layar has a platform, or augmented reality browser, that runs on the iPhone 3G and Google’s Android. Layar works by using a combination of the mobile phone’s camera, compass and GPS data to identify the user’s location and field of view, retrieve data based on those geographical coordinates, and overlay that data over the camera view.

Qualcomm has also unveiled a new software development kit for the Google Android operating system that will make it easier for developers to create new augmented reality apps for devices running Google’s mobile operating system.

The fact that a software development kit is available on a mobile operating system would suggest that the development can be played with by lots of people with less experience than others. However, as my app will be for the interactive whiteboard I will have to look into this further as to how to make this compatible. My research with a primary school teacher revealed that, promethean was the most commonly used brand of IWB that she had encountered in her teaching so developing a software to work on this hardware would be highly advantageous and something which  I will look into. 

6. One of the simplest ways is to develop for an existing platform such as Layar is to join the thriving community of developers busy utilising the browser to deliver functionality.

C2K is one such developer with its Conquar game, which handles most of the game engine – usernames and logins etc – on the C2K server. Developers code in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) to the platform and Layar is then responsible for making it display on the iPhone and Android phones.

Through the API of Layar and JSON, developers can make use of the triggers such as a web view and also place action buttons such as watch video, listen to audio and call a phone number. This kind of data is provided with PHP.

Again, although I am not qualified to programme the resource myself it is worth noting where I should look in order to find software developers who are looking for work.

7.The world of retail is one sector with myriad opportunities for augmented reality applications, especially online. Here, the lack of the ‘try-on’ phase before buying for many products including fashion, jewellery, watches, glasses and home products is an incentive for companies to try out augmented reality applications.

Holition is one augmented reality retailer offering these real-time try on opportunities. This can be combined with providing extra information for the products being displayed.

Although Hilton uses a different approach to what I have in mind, when it comes to advertising my finished product and the development of future classroom resources their futuristic work is definitely worth a look at.

8.The technology offers many opportunities to support experiential and location-based learning by layering data and information on top of the real-world.

Adding historical context to a particular place, highlighting geometric shapes and hidden angles in buildings are just a couple of examples of ways that lessons could be brought to life.

The explosion in popularity of mobile phone apps offers hundreds of possibilities for educators to bring AR into the classroom with relative ease. Apps like Pocket Universe provide star maps relative to your location and offer educators the opportunity to bring objects that are traditionally seen ‘out there’ right into the classroom.

The existing competition with AR software in the classroom is both good and bad. The population suggests an ease of use and a good success rate whilst the negative is that I will have to develop something completely different, not just for the sake of a USP but also to avoid any copyright infringement with any intellectual property that I do not own. A recent meeting with a business mentor disclosed some details about the complicated copyright laws which come with software and apps, which I will do a blog about it in the near future.

9. Perhaps the biggest innovations will come when we step away from the screen. At the moment the majority of AR applications use a camera and screen of some kind, and while the effects are often spectacular, the screen still acts as a barrier.

  Thinking in terms of the classroom, the interactive whiteboard is an easily accessible tool, but is it too obvious?

10. AR has been around for a long time. One of the oldest examples is the double exposure technique by which the impression of a ghost can be created on stage. The military also equips pilots with goggles that provide a layer of radar data over the real-world view to enable them to target missile attacks.

I’m not sure how that can help but it s pretty cool.

 With huge credit to cwjobs!



One thought on “Ten interesting and helpful-for-my-resource things about ‘Augmented reality’ I didn’t know before; Research and development

    […] I’ve done research into the technology behind augmented reality I am as far of from being a software programmer as Joey Essex is in learning how to tell the time. […]

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