Thursday, October 21, 2010

Exploring Augmented Reality Apps on iPhone 4

I've been fascinated by augmented reality (AR) for a while and have posted in the past (scroll) on this technology as it relates to education. Many feel the potential of AR is huge, though for various reasons it will take time to mainstream.

The Gartner's 2010 Hype Cycle shows AR has 5-10 years to mainstream adoption. The 2010 Horizon Report, commonly used by educators to scan the landscape of emerging technologies for teaching and learning, has listed Simple Augmented Reality Time-to-Adoption: Two to Three Years.

I've long had an interest in testing AR but my previous iPhone 3 (not 3GS) did not have the built in technology necessary to use AR. In most cases, handheld devices must have a compass and GPS to be able to use AR. The flickr set below shows examples of AR app tests on my iPhone 4, which I've been running mostly in downtown Portland, Oregon, USA. The set and descriptions can also be viewed on flickr

I'm excited about what I'm learning as I test AR apps in the city. I see challenges after using these apps, but the potential has become more clear as well. I'm also encouraged by the fact that there are smart people working on moving this tech forward. O'Reilly radar recently posted a good article titled "How augmented reality apps can catch on" and there are creative thinkers/innovators in higher education working on practical uses for teaching and learning.

For now, my plan is to keep testing and I hope to soon find someone at my university interested enough to collaborate with me on creating an AR tour of our campus and main library. Seems like a good first step. I've seen a few examples of how a handful of higher ed institutions are beginning to use AR. I'd love to learn of more. Comments are most welcome.

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