By Adesewa Adelekun, Christina Y He, Jacquelyn Liu, Carolyn McKenzie
Salvador Jiménez-Flores and Urbano worked together to develop an interactive, multi-purpose, movable sculpture titled “¿Cuándo y Dónde?”, or “when and where.” The sculpture was designed to be multi-purpose engaging the community through performance, social interventions and youth-led workshops. In its next iteration the nomadic sculpture will be exploring ways to integrate audio into continued mission of collaborative and interactive artwork from and for the Eggleston community.
We propose blending Cuando y Donde with Augmented reality to create ARt.
Augmented Reality gives us the opportunity to bring components of the digital world into the user’s perceived reality. 3D models, images audio and videos can overlay the user’s view of the world in real time. This allows both the media and the physical space to become interactive and malleable.
We prototype our AR idea with with 30 second clips and visual representations of our interviews.
AR allows for sharing and discovering experiences particular to a place and time. Using AR, we can create a way for Urbano students and locals to audio-record their stories or thoughts in response to a prompt. The recording is stored on a server, associated with an image of their choosing (or of their making), accessible through an AR interface. That image is printed as a sticker and tagged. They leave the “AR studio” box with stickers to place on the map or distribute wherever they wish around the neighborhood or city
The project will culminate in a geographical map of the Boston area, presented as a poster that can be posted on the outside surface of the AR studio or just hung up around town.
AR interface: scanning these elements on the map using a smartphone camera to unlock details about the interviews
Challenges & Lessons
Limitations of software
We recognized a general lack of tools for non-experts to work with AR.
Confining a full interview to 30secs was difficult in terms of staying true to the fullness of the story vs. working to the attention span of your audience. However, we somewhat ameliorate this by adding links to resources for additional information. There is definitely a treasure-hunt-ish aspect to this.
Test print stickers of scannable elements and research ways to do this
Create a range of simple sticker graphics, which members of the Urbano community could use as Layar elements, containing their own content (audio recording, links, images etc.)
Explore logistics of creating an AR creator space in the Urbano box:
A mini recording studio? Can participants design their own sticker?
Drawings on sticker paper (more accessible, but can not produce many of the same sticker since it’s handmade) vs. digitally designing the printer and sticking (requires design software and printer but people can make multiple of the same sticker so they can put one on the Urbano map and stick others wherever they like
- Perhaps integration with Vojo
- Is it important to teach viewers to use Layar authoring environment or simply participate through listening, storytelling, etc.? Some classmates suggest QR instead.
- How is it discoverable without a label? How would folks know to download Layar? What happens when Layar goes out of business? – Maybe QR code with link to download app / open within app if installed
- Don’t want the project to be an ad for Layar (not a perfect tool). QR codes / website might be a way to increase access to those with internet but not smartphones
- What’s the value added by doing this? It seems to be a way of tagging content rather than AR. Does it make more sense to embed QR code into other design elements? — but then Layar is worth trying out because there’s something interesting about your smartphone recognizing a shape. It’s hard to explain the user experience verbally, but it is kind of like a treasure hunt.
- What would the process be to create your own sticker? Layar offers the possibility to draw a sticker (vs print) and scan the object. People can participate in the creation of stickers that would then get pasted on computers, maps, etc.
You can either design the sticker digitally and print it (would require a sticker printer) or let participants draw stickers on sticker paper first, then scanned into Layar. (It was also suggested to use a QR sticker that people can draw AROUND but this might take away from the artistic/aesthetic aspect of our project.)
- Do you need to pay to publish the Layar project?
YES. Apparently there used to be free publishing, but this feature has been removed. Individual pages are about four USD. This is what it says on the Layar site FAQ:
“Yes, there is no longer a method for free publication. New users are given 2 free Basic pages at sign-up as a way to test the Layar Creator. However, we do still offer discounts for students, teachers, schools, charities and other non-profit organizations.”
There is a way of testing out the AR capabilities when you’re editing, and I think Layar will only recognize the poster if you have it pulled up in “editing” mode on some computer. I’m assuming there is some kind of time-out that happens once you are not editing mode, where it will stop recognizing the poster.