Augmented reality: wow

Of all the technologies we have examined throughout this course, augmented reality (AR) has to be the one that has impressed me the most. There are some really cool examples of how it’s being utilized.

Below, you’ll see how BMW is using AR goggles to train mechanics on specific procedures. The ability to visually layer over what the user sees in real time allows the user to see exactly what the next step is. Imagine if IKEA had something like this for assembling furniture!

I could envision this type of use being implemented in both secondary and higher ed in subjects where students need to learn a hands-on skill. Moreover, using AR in this fashion would facilitate apprenticeship-like situations for students. Maybe a virtual animal could be used for a virtual disection in a biology class.

In this example, you can see a 3D video game that uses AR. I think this example shows the potential of 3D modeling with AR. Consider how thoroughly architecture students could examine a design if they cool zoom in on it in 3D, exploring different angles and viewpoints. Along different lines, students could create AR dioramas or recreations of historical places/periods.

The next video shows how AR functions can be added to books and other documents, enriching it aesthetically and/or functionally:

Overall, AR has great potential and many strengths as an educational tool. One obvious strength is the ability to manipulate any physical space, layering on top of it any pictures, video, etc. that one can think of. A classroom could be turned into an aquarium, the ceiling could become the night sky, the entire classroom a 3D model of an ancient village. Additionally, one can see the potential of layering academic information over realtime views of different locations, contextualizing and conceptualizing the learning for students that much more. To me, though, the greatest is that it provides the user with a different style of interface beyond the keyboard or touchscreen on their mobile device. Many of our readings for this course mentioned that screen and keyboard size alike can be constraints/barriers to developing m-learning apps. With AR, a much, much larger interface is enabled. I’m not nearly enough of a tech wizard or visionary to imagine exactly how, but one could imagine AR technology developing to the point where we can access technology like this:

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