In the last couple years, augmented reality (AR) moved from scifi and “garage inventions” to mass distributed apps. With a compass, GPS, accelerometer, and camera, most smart phones can overlay graphic information on physical spaces in real time. AR offers mash-ups in which multiple sources of information come together in the context of a person’s setting. This mode of interacting/engaging/learning is emerging as a technically viable endeavor on a mass level. The following articles and case studies attest to AR as a rising form of mobile interaction:
In November of 2008, MIT Technology Review posted “Augmented Reality Comes to Mobile Phones.”
In June 2009, Layar made an AR app for house shopping.
In June 2009, IDEO published what news will look like in the future. You guessed it, everything is AR.
The relationships created by AR mash-ups arguably influence the interpretations, judgments, and decisions made about specific locations. They inform my expectations and prepare me for action in ways that neither physical nor digital interaction could do alone. While the examples above reflect “functional” applications, there is much room for playful, nuanced, meditative, and pleasurable applications as well.
WARM-UP PROJECT DESCRIPTION
The warm-up project is a “what-if” exploration of mobile AR. You will have the opportunity to prototype what it could be like to peak into a hidden graphic world of your making. What you create should be relevant to a particular location and unfold in surprising ways over time. The characteristics, behaviors, and rules of the world are entirely up to you, but should coalesce in a way that intensifies the significance of the location (compared with the location without augmentation).
You need only prototype an instance of the world–scale at your own discretion. In other words, start with a video of the location and build on it in Flash. Some elements may rely on interaction, while others are nonresponsive; some may shout out with honest intentions, while others move in subtle ways; and some may remain hidden until a certain trigger reveals their presence. The sense of the space created by the behaviors will be central to our discussions.
As a warm-up project, exploration and play are highly encouraged. This is a chance to get back into Flash and explore mobile. Have at it with reckless abandon! We will review AS3 buttons and if-statements at the beginning of the project. Please post technical questions to the website in the “How-to > Help” category. By doing so, FAQ will become public knowledge… and you will have the opportunity to earn extra credit by offering helpful solutions to your peer’s inquires.
50%: Process (Specific concept described. Evidence of iterative exploration.)
25%: Production Techniques (Reflects best practices. Complete. No glitches.)
25%: Inventiveness (Elements of awe and surprise. Insightful fit with content.)