23 January 2012

Augmented Reality and my friend Matt

Today I had lunch with a friend, who is working on an amazing project with the InSPIRE Centre at the University of Canberra.  Matt Bacon is working on a project to investigate the educational value of augmented reality (a-r) technologies with a group of equally talented people - Robert Fitzgerald, Anna Wilson, and Danny Munnerly.  Wow.

He's already planted an a-r forest in the foyer of Parliament House in Canberra, and has promised to put something in the corridor outside my office. Augmented reality gives anyone with a viewing device access to information overlays of the world around them. These overlays contain information in the form of images or video or text, e.g. newly created objects or tags made up of data pulled from the Web. The overlays are being created willy-nilly by all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons.

So, say you are sitting at a cafe on the campus of the Australian National University, and you want to know if anyone nearby is tweeting. Using the augmented reality viewers on your iPad, you can see where the tweeters are. If anyone has taken photos nearby and made them public using something like Instagram, you can see them using the a-r viewer.

Or ... say you are viewing Canberra from the Mt Ainslie lookout and you are wondering what it looked like before Lake Burley Griffin was full. If someone had built the 3-D image and uploaded it, you could hold your smart phone up, and see this alternate view.

I'm pretty sure we are going to hear more about this.

Oh ... and if you are in the foyer of the Australian Parliament House, and you want to see Matt's forest, you will need a smart phone or a tablet loaded up with the appropriate viewer (Junaio or Layar). Once you have opened the app on your device, search for AR Studio. Let me know what happens if you get there before me.

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