Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Augmented Reality

I'm very interested in something that I've seen as a buzzword in several library presentations in the past 6 months, which is "Augmented Reality." It uses some kind of device like a smartphone or special computer with screen to show the real world with digital objects superimposed on it. For example, as I understand it, GPS navigation systems in cars are a kind of augmented reality. The maps represent very real objects while the directions are digitally superimposed on it.

There's an example in this video, which I think comes from National Geographic, of using real maps as grids to play a giant PacMan game. Players see the streets through their goggles, but they also see the floating white balls they need to collect if they are PacMan, or they see other players as PacMan or ghosts. You can also do this without the computer technology, as can be seen in this picture of Pacmanhattan.

Museums are creating games using this idea. For example, here is a video that explains how students visiting a museum in Austria are asked to find things, and they take a picture of a barcode of the correct objects, they can also interact with the instruments on display by virtually playing back a short piece of music on a keyboard, or pumping the billows for an organ. They also see flying green diamonds when they scan a new room in the museum.

Many of the Come Out and Play Festival games have people use their own smart phones, which I don't think you could do in the museum game. I think any of this is beyond my technical abilities, but it's still something to keep an eye on. And perhaps you can use computers with regular Internet access at certain locations to enhance reality. Or vice versa, which I already do with my spies game. After all, we're trying to teach students to use the most appropriate resources and sometimes those are online and sometimes they must be found in the stacks.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mary,

    Congratulations on your great blog!

    I am a librarian of a Vietnam university library.

    I have been searching for "Games for Libraries" and came across this fantastic page of yours. I really love your 'First attempt' (have been playing with it for a while)

    I would like to receive your advices on this topic, especially your experience in creating the instructional game.

    Could we initiate further contacts? My email is

    Thank you again for this useful source.

    Hope to hear from you soon.