What is Augmented Reality?


Augmented reality, a capability that has been around for decades, is shifting from what was once seen as a gimmick to a bonafide game-changer. The layering of information over 3D space produces a new experience of the world, sometimes referred to as “blended reality,” and is fueling the broader migration of computing from the desktop to the mobile device, bringing with it new expectations regarding access to information and new opportunities for learning. While the most prevalent uses of augmented reality so far have been in the consumer sector (for marketing, social engagement, amusement, or location-based information), new uses seem to emerge almost daily, as tools for creating new applications become ever easier to use.


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How can we maximise the ability of Higher and Further Education institutions and their learning technology innovators to take advantage of this emerging technology and its applications?

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Work of the Advisory Board previous to Sept 5

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - alan alan Jan 27, 2010

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Augmented reality has tremendous power to transform education by giving learners 'the eyes of the tutor' as they look at objects. The issue is keeping the technology steered towards the robust and reliable and away from the complex and overtly technical. Currently the use of SecondSight with Sony PSPs is the only classroom friendly version I know. The Museum of London App for the iPhone is something that could be replicated in many ways if simple editor software were available - alistair.mcnaught alistair.mcnaught May 17, 2011

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

There is a huge need to create simple template driven editor systems to allow tutors to use a range of simple systems to overlay information. At its simplest this might be additional information triggered by QR codes stuck to specific objects. Again, at object level, using shape recognition algorithms could allow additional information to be generated when an object is recognised from a particular angle, adding hotspot information in real time as the object is explored. At the larger scale geotagging can create live updates. All these technologies exist in some form at the moment but the missing element is the ability for non-technical people to author the additional VR layers. - alistair.mcnaught alistair.mcnaught May 17, 2011


(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, research or information management within the next five years?

  • If tutors can simply create AR experiences then there is huge potential. On the other hand if the authorial end continues to be dominated by high expense non-sustainable one off projects then it will be wasted. Like YouTube videos, people are more interested in being empowered to do something "good enough" quickly and easily. - alistair.mcnaught alistair.mcnaught May 17, 2011

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

ConnectEd working with SecondSight on PSPs at http://www.connectededucation.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=195&Itemid=148
Museum of London StreetMuseum iPhone app by Brothers and Sisters Creative Ltd.
There's also an old geotagging based Safari game that was used in several schools a few years ago but I can't find it now. But again, the ability for me as a tutor to mark some areas on a map, add info like text and images to those areas and have the info come up on a smartphone when the students walk into the area would be invaluable in lots of fieldwork applications. - alistair.mcnaught alistair.mcnaught May 17, 2011
I understand that Exeter University have used Layar augmented reality to map specific points of interest on their campus - this is partially funded by a JISC grant and aimed at supported their bio-sciences and sustainability programmes - chris.cobb chris.cobb May 18, 2011




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