Recently I have been experimenting with some apps for augmented reality (AR). I first saw some information on AR last spring, but in what is becoming a common mistake, I brushed it off and moved to other areas of interest. My initial thought is that it wasn't really any different from QR codes. However, this fall I revisited the topic and wish I wouldn't have given up on it so soon last spring.
While browsing through my Twitter feed, I saw something called AR Flashcards. Intrigued, I downloaded the app and alphabet flashcards that go with it. The flashcards act as a trigger which will produce a 3D image on your device when the app is open and the camera is looking at the flashcard. To the right you can see the image of a dog which appears to be standing on the sheet of paper. While the dog appears, you can tap on the dog and your device will say the letter and the word. This would be a great app for young kids just learning the alphabet. Currently there is a free set of flashcards for the alphabet and space.
- You pick an "Aura." An aura is typically a video or image that with pop up on the screen when triggered. An aura can be one of the prepackaged animated images or you can import your own videos.
- You then determine the "Trigger." The trigger is similar to a QR code in that it acts as the image that calls up the aura.
- Finally, you save the new aura to your channel. Since the world acts as the trigger, you need to subscribe to a channel in order for the device to know which aura you want to see. For example, many people might use the Eiffel Tower as a trigger image, so the only way your device knows what aura to find is based on the channel you subscribe to.
We are excited to start using Aurasma in our district. Imagine a parent event in which parents walk around the school/classroom with their device and watch as Aurasma pulls up video of their children explaining projects they have been working on during the year. Or, students getting a homework problem explained to them at home when their homework acts as a trigger to a video of their teacher explaining the process to complete the problem.
The final app I found was colAR Mix. This is one of the coolest apps I have used in a long time. Although it is a very basic app in its abilities, it has a truly amazing concept. The power behind colAR Mix is that it allows you to color an image (provided by the app developers) to your own liking. Then the magic happens. You open the app and focus it on your image. The image will come to life as an animated 3D image and its color will be determined by how you colored it. The first time I saw this I was amazed, and so were my boys. Look at the images below and notice how their dragons and villages are different because one chose to have a red dragon and the other a green dragon. Awesome stuff!